Saturday, July 20, 2024

Coffee is brewing: Inaugural coffee fest to be held at Amigo Café in Kayenta

Coffee is brewing: Inaugural coffee fest to be held at Amigo Café in Kayenta

By Donovan Quintero
Special to the Times

KAYENTA — If sipping, savoring, and celebrating the magic of coffee is a daily enjoyment for you, June 14-15 are dates you’ll want to remember and save.

Excitement is brewing in Kayenta, Arizona, as Larry Price gears up to host the town’s first-ever coffee fest at Amigo Café, just off U.S. Highway 163 across from the Bashas’ grocery store.

Price said coffee enthusiasts and coffee drinkers should anticipate a celebration of all things coffee.

The festival will bring together residents of Kayenta and beyond to partake in a day filled with coffee-centric activities. From sampling a variety of blends to learning about different brewing techniques, attendees can look forward to immersing themselves in the rich and diverse world of coffee.

Price, the driving force behind the upcoming event, expressed his enthusiasm for sharing his passion for coffee with the community.

“I’ve always believed that coffee has the power to bring people together,” Price shared. “I’m thrilled to create a space where coffee lovers can unite and celebrate their shared love for this beloved beverage.”

Latte artist

Barista Tomiko Tohdacheeny, who’s been perfecting her craft as a latte artist since 2021, and Heather Price will help Larry Price bring his festival to fruition.

Coffee is brewing: Inaugural coffee fest to be held at Amigo Café in Kayenta

Special to the Times | Donovan Quintero
Larry Price of Amigo Café showcases Idle Hands Roasting Company coffee and café cups inside the restaurant in Kayenta on June 1.

“Most people enjoy our house cups,” Tohdacheeny said on Monday.

While her customers enjoy the cafe’s variety of coffees, such as Amigo Mocha, Red Chile Chai Latte, and the Caramelized Sandstorm, she looks forward to seeing how people attending the two-day festival will react to her coffee artistry.
“I don’t know what to expect. I have never been a part of this type of event. All I know is that there will be coffee,” she said. “I mostly appreciate customers’ compliments on the taste of plain lattes and espresso. It lets me know that we are dialing in our espresso machine right and steaming our milk correctly. Compliments on my latte art are bonus – something I’m still working on.”

Tohdacheeny added that coffee making is about experimenting and testing different ways to enjoy coffee and share it with others.

“I enjoy being able to make a drink based on a person’s coffee-tasting preference,” she said.

World of coffee, sheepherder blend

Larry Price plans to share some coffees that he’s personally tried and tasted throughout the years.

Price said he first indulged in the delightful world of coffee, known for its rich flavors and aromatic essence when he traveled to Europe in the 1980s. He learned that a well-crafted cup of java, made with freshly roasted beans, offered a harmonious blend of sweet, bitter, and acidic notes that tantalize the taste buds.

“We went to Europe. It was in Paris and Italy that we saw these individuals drinking a cappuccino. I hadn’t seen anything like that here back then,” Price said. “That’s where the interest started on the lattes and expresso.”

He yearned for adventure because, up to that point, he only knew the taste of the more common sheepherder coffee blend: unfiltered coffee grind thrown into a steel coffee pot with water and placed on a stove or top of a fire and boiled into a hot steaming bitter “wake-me-up” juice that is drunk only by the hardiest of souls.

Price noted that the coffee he grew up with was made with something other than an espresso machine.

Swiftly extracting coffee

Price explained the efficiency of an espresso machine in brewing and making coffee in a mere 30 seconds. Contrary to this, the drip coffee maker demands up to 10 minutes for brewing. The espresso machine uses its high-pressure mechanism, extracting coffee precisely in just a few seconds.

“We all grew up with coffee. When you’re a little kid in the hogan, cheii or grandma would start making it, and all of a sudden, you smell that coffee brewing, you wake up to that,” Price said. “I think every Navajo pretty much has that memory. And so, it’s part of our culture.”

Coffee is brewing: Inaugural coffee fest to be held at Amigo Café in Kayenta

Special to the Times | Donovan Quintero
A latte/cappuccino art sits on a table alongside coffee beans and Amigo Café cups inside the restaurant in Kayenta on June 1.

Long ago, Price began his journey, which led him to find the best-tasting coffee the world has to offer. Decades later, Price said his love affair with coffee has not waned. Now, he hopes to share his passion during the coffee fest.

“It’ll give folks a different offering for someone who wants maybe a more sophisticated cup of coffee,” he said on Saturday in Kayenta.

Of course, for those who want to try other types of the Navajo sheepherder blend, he said he’s invited makers to share their versions.

“We also will do the traditional one, too, for someone who just wants the basic black coffee,” Price said.

Baristas showcasing skills

The Coffee Fest is poised to be an occasion for Navajos to try a new coffee – complete with interactive workshops and a showcase of local coffee roasters and coffees from Peru, Brazil, Colombia, and Nicaragua. Additionally, baristas will showcase their skills and creativity in crafting visually stunning and delicious coffee drinks.

Price said the event is expected to offer a unique and memorable experience for all who attend.

According to Price, the festival begins at 3 p.m. on Friday, June 14, and 9 a.m. on Saturday, June 15. There is no admission fee.


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