NEW ORLEANS (press release) – City tourism leaders are celebrating the addition of a new trade and consumer show for the coffee industry to begin in 2023. The NOLA Coffee Festival is a two-day event occurring September 15-16, 2023 that will attract several thousand small business owners, professional baristas and coffee enthusiasts to the city.
Festival Co-founder Kevin Richards asserts that while coffee has been a staple in the city’s cultural landscape for over a hundred years and has wonderfully complemented the Crescent City’s unmatched cuisine, it is now time to celebrate New Orleans’ contributions to the wider coffee industry here in the South and beyond. “Few appreciate the incredible impact that New Orleans has had on the growth of coffee around the country over several generations. From the coffee brands that call New Orleans home to the coffee innovators who are based here, we felt it was important to establish this Festival and reinforce the voice of New Orleans in the growing coffee conversation”, says Richards.
Today, New Orleans is the number one coffee port in the country. Around 241,000 tons of green coffee (or approximately 28 percent of all the coffee that enters the United States) arrives annually into the Port of New Orleans. Beans are shipped here in large containers from thirty-one coffee-producing countries. In turn, this coffee is shipped out to large U.S. bulk roasters and to smaller specialty roasters around the world.
“Our city is home to thousands of jobs in the coffee industry, and yet there isn’t currently a formal industry trade show here” adds co-founder Jim Currie. “Our 40,000 square foot event changes that fact. Friday, September 15 will be dedicated to those who work in the industry. Dozens of leading industry suppliers and manufacturers from across the U.S. and around the world will be in New Orleans to teach our coffee shop owners and baristas about the latest trends and products. Then on Saturday, September 16, we will convert to a consumer coffee festival with thousands of epicurious coffee fans joining our event. We will have coffee samples from across the region, barista competitions, coffee maker demonstrations and a wide range of educational programs including speakers that will elaborate on how New Orleans invented the now famous “coffee break” among other fun facts.”
Walt Leger III, Executive Vice President and Incoming CEO of New Orleans & Company said, “Creation of the NOLA Coffee Festival reinforces why New Orleans is Built to Host, with world-class hospitality and facilities, a compact geographic footprint and unmatched creativity and culture. People may not automatically associate New Orleans with the coffee industry, or think of us as a city of innovation, so this festival gives us a perfect opportunity to share these untold stories with the world.”
The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center was selected as the 2023 event location. Convention Center President Michael J. Sawaya explained, “The event planners selected us in part because we can accommodate their large crowds, but Kevin and Jim were especially thrilled that our convention center is very green. Last month, we achieved our first Gold certification from Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). This official certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) makes the NOENMCC the largest LEED-certified project in Louisiana, the largest convention center project in the U.S. certified under LEED v4.1 Operations and Maintenance and the first convention center in the world to be awarded initial certification under LEED v4.1 O+M. This is a high honor for the city and recognizes the hard work we did to meet those high certification standards. We think many conventions will now select New Orleans because of our smarter operations which better protect the environment.”
Currie and Richards plan to continue working on coffee-related projects beyond the festival. “Coffee has universal appeal and connects humans in a way that few things can. This is a global industry that has deep roots. Content around coffee is rich and has been fun to explore and we’re proud to strengthen the New Orleans connection.”
NOLA Coffee Festival, LLC is based in New Orleans and dedicated to the celebration of all things coffee in the Gulf South region. We exist to celebrate the coffee creation and distribution chain – from farmer to port to roaster to cup.