When is Jamaica Coffee Festival 2020

Ok, So the festival is March 7, 2020. Important to note is that it is free on entry in the Blue Mountains. Any price one sees for the festival on flyers relates to bus transportation but entrance is free ( at least it was in 2019). That means if you drive or walk to the festival there’s no cover.

The festival organisers 8 hours ago (December 10) started calling on exhibitors to apply. They mean business. Maybe they want to match the Rum Festival also held under the Tourism Linkages unit to boost gastronomy. The Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee festival was cool but the rum festival was on fire: Entertaining with comedian bartenders, informative with sugar displays and you got drunk.

The coffee festival can be described in one word. Coffee. And that’s really all you got with various brands setting up stalls. The year was encouraging but next year will/should build on missed opportunities. The biggest missed opp was that festival goers wanted more local innovation from the coffee companies.

They wanted coffee but not just coffee. Everyone served the dark beverage (and it all tasted like your grandfathers brew). They didn’t want fancy Italian name drinks either, they wanted a wow factor. And it was absent.

Don’t get me wrong, the stalls were pretty and the music was fat and the event was well done. But no dealer or coffeefile had a wow factor.

What should the wow factor be this year. That’s really for the suppliers to say. Were I to exhibit I would just set up a cupping stall doing basic coffee 101.

It would start with a quick cupping of rubbish instant coffee. Then transition to dark muddy coffee. Then transition to medium coffee with just chocolate tones. Then transition to fruity coffee with chocolate tones. At the end of the 4th cup you say WOW that’s good coffee. Of course, I can hear people say that’s a boring cupping class. Bear in mind the most popular stall at the rum festival was the cupping to understand good rum from bulk. Why not the same for coffee but done by really cool locals who know the craft.

That will give the festival goers an experience or as I rather say some theatre.

But at the festival in 2019, the evidence was clear, Starbucks avoidance by patrons was palpable. The hype for this brand on the flat in the city did not transition in the cool blue mountains.

Festival goers just kept walking by the green mermaid goblin logo in search of local innovation. My solution for Starbucks for the 2020 festival. It is easy….but you’d have to pay me to consult. It however would involve scaling back and focusing on farmers. I probably said too much already.

Again people want local innovation.

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