Tuesday, July 23, 2024

First-ever Coffee Festival at Amigo Café brews success and community spirit

First-ever Coffee Festival at Amigo Café brews success and community spirit

By Donovan Quintero
Navajo Times

KAYENTA – The aroma of freshly brewed coffee filled the air at Amigo Café as the town’s first-ever coffee festival unfolded, delighting coffee enthusiasts and novices alike.

First-ever Coffee Festival at Amigo Café brews success and community spirit

Special to the Times | Donovan Quintero
Daniel Tullie, the owner of Jinjééh Coffee, makes a drink of Navajo tea on Sunday during a coffee fest at Amigo Café in Kayenta.

Coffee enthusiasts and connoisseurs gathered at the Kayenta Coffee Fest in Kayenta, Arizona, last Friday and Saturday to delve into the intricate world of coffee making and coffee growing. The event showcased the artistry and craftsmanship involved in every step of the coffee production process, from bean to cup.

The event highlighted the talents of various coffee roasters and baristas who shared their expertise in making a perfect cup of coffee. The festival also featured engaging presentations and workshops highlighting the nuances of coffee cultivation and preparation. Local coffee growers shared their expertise on cultivating and harvesting coffee beans in Arizona’s unique climate, shedding light on the challenges and rewards of coffee farming in the region.

‘The roasting, the growing’

Larry and Julie Price, the owners of Amigo Café, were exhilarated by the festival’s success because it brought people together.

First-ever Coffee Festival at Amigo Café brews success and community spirit

Special to the Times | Donovan Quintero
Amigo Café barista Heather Price pours grounded coffee into a spoon while making a latte during a coffee fest in Kayenta.

“What I learned is that the roasting, the growing; it’s coffee that is so diverse, as well as a personal thing,” Larry Price said. “What you like is what your favorite coffee is.”

Price explained that there is a world of difference between a cup of coffee bought from a convenience store and a specialty coffee bought from local coffee shops that offer specialty coffees and teas.

“A specialty coffee is sourced, is roasted, and it’s a better quality where the store coffee, or let’s say a big corporate chain coffee; they’re in it to make money, and so they’re going to pay the growers as much as they’re going to earn their profit,” he said. “What I’ve learned is they’re not going to have the highest quality bean.”

The festival featured a lineup of local coffee roasters, each offering signature blends for sampling and purchase. Baristas from Salt Lake City demonstrated their craft, showing the audience their latte art skills and brewing techniques.

Latte art demos, coffee-making

Attendees could participate in workshops and tastings, learning about the nuances of coffee roasting, brewing, and flavor profiles. The festival also included a friendly latte art demonstration that drew cheers and applause from the crowd.

“It was incredible to see the passion and creativity that went into making each cup of coffee,” remarked a festival attendee, savoring a freshly brewed espresso. “I gained a whole new appreciation for the art of coffee-making.”

Attendees learned about different coffee varietals, processing methods, and sustainable practices essential to producing high-quality coffee. From carefully selecting beans to precise roasting techniques, the event emphasized the craftsmanship and attention to detail required to create a perfect cup of coffee.

Coffee producers local, worldwide

Ricky Dyson, who, along with two other fellow Australians, launched Idle Hands Roasting, said at the coffee fest that Idle Hands collaborates with producers from various countries worldwide, including Colombia, El Salvador, Brazil, and Ethiopia. Additionally, they partner with an intermediary based in Tanzania. Some of his coffees were sold at Amigo Café for $20 a bag.

First-ever Coffee Festival at Amigo Café brews success and community spirit

Special to the Times | Donovan Quintero
Amigo Café barista Heather Price pours water into a glass cup as Jake He of Loki Coffee busies himself and demonstrates how to make a latte in Kayenta.

Dyson emphasized the significance of establishing a healthy relationship with growers, distributors, and buyers within the industry, a sentiment echoed by Kelvin Long, the founder and CEO of Yeego Coffee.

“A specialty coffee is beans that have grown longer. They develop more flavors into them, so they’re maturing at a slower rate. We look for beans that grow in mountains that are facing to the north and the south, and upper midrange. They’re not getting all the sunlight, and they’re not getting too much shade,” he said.

Long, from Leupp, Arizona, went on to explain that larger, corporate-owned coffee shops tend to source from multiple places, which can result in everything tasting the same. So, working more closely with farmers meant that coffee roasters and makers, like himself, could better tailor the coffee beans they wanted for their companies.

According to the Idle Hands Roasting website, working directly with farmers creates a greener and healthier environment.

“Over 90% of our coffee is roasted on a Loring S35 Kestrel, meaning we currently save approximately 50,000 pounds of CO2 each year compared to using a traditional drum roaster,” the website cited.

A Loring S35 Kestrel is a coffee roaster that can tailor coffee roasting to a roster’s coffee specifications. In addition, the website stated that working directly with farmers meant that all profits went directly to them and not to other entities, typical in larger corporate-owned coffee shops.

The brewing methods, sense of community

Dyson and Jake He, owner of Loki Coffee from Salt Lake City, demonstrated various brewing methods, including pour-over, espresso, French press, and cold brew, showcasing how different techniques can influence the flavor profile and aroma of the final brew. Participants were treated to a sensory journey of tasting different coffee blends and experiencing the diverse flavors and complexities each cup offers.

The sense of community spirit was palpable as the festival ended on Saturday evening. Coffee lovers mingled, shared stories, and bonded over their love for the beloved beverage.

Price expressed his gratitude to everyone who attended the festival and promised that this would be the first of many such events at Amigo Café.

“I am thrilled to see how this festival brought our community together in celebration of coffee,” he said. “This is just the beginning of many more coffee-filled gatherings to come.”

Price said the coffee festival at Amigo Café was a resounding success, leaving attendees with a newfound appreciation for the artistry and craftsmanship behind a good cup of coffee.

He added that the next fest would likely be held at a different location since his restaurant and parking lot might not be a venue large enough to host a larger festival.

“It’s just finding a perfect venue. There’s talks of it happening in the Antelope Point area — a lot can happen,” Price said.


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