Austin’s Second Annual Coffee Festival Provides Variety of Diverse Blends
By Meg Gross
Reporting Texas TV
AUSTIN, Texas – Coffee lovers attended Austin’s second annual coffee festival at Fair Market on East Fifth St. on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1.
Two dozen vendors participated, including Austin coffee shop staples Merit Coffee Co. and Medici Roasting. Local roasters source their beans from around the world, offering alternatives to corporate coffee brands.
“We have them from Costa Rica, we have them from Ethiopia, we have them from Mexico, so it’s really all over the place, where we get our beans from,” said Emma Sarver, a Medici barista.
In addition to gathering beans from other countries, Sarver said Medici focuses on the best time to pick and process beans to ensure the best quality roast.
Roasters strive to make every step of their coffee production process intentional, attempting to create relationships with the customers they serve.
Billy Wiginton and his wife Tasha founded a micro-batch specialty coffee roaster during the COVID-19 pandemic called Haciendo Coffee Roasters. They are based in Taylor, Texas, and seek to create a personable brand.
“There’s a lot of good coffee in Austin and surrounding areas that is not big, corporate companies,” Wiginton said. “They’re companies that know the farmers, they’re companies that care about the ethics behind it, the sustainability, and we’re one of those roasters.”
Haciendo Coffee founder Billy Wiginton (left) was one of the vendors at the second annual Austin Coffee Festival in Austin, Texas, on Saturday, Sept. 30, 2023. (Meg Gross/Reporting Texas TV)
Vendors like Wiginton also seek to represent the countries that provide their beans, enabling consumers to learn more about the history of coffee.
“People tend to love the branding and the marketing that we do. My family’s heritage is Mexican and we felt like there’s a lot of good coffee from Mexico out there, and from other South American countries, but not a lot of representation in the industry,” he said.
“Coffee historically has been grown by Black and Brown folks, and yet it is not really credited in the market.”
Casa Brasil Coffees was another vendor at the festival. The company began in 2005 as a Brazilian Cultural Center in Austin and its Brazilian-sourced blends are now available throughout Central Texas.
Casa Brasil roaster Jordan Fields said people should support smaller, lesser-known vendors.
“We’re giving directly to local businesses to try to create a culture of high-quality, premium coffee, but not, you know, make it so much of a treasure hunt,” Fields said.
Gerardo Rodriguez, an attendee and self-proclaimed coffee enthusiast, said he is incredibly passionate about the festival and its roasters.
“Everyone’s on another level here. Nothing here is one note,” Rodriguez said. “Like Folgers, no, it does not even compare to everybody here. It is so unique and nice. They put their heart and soul into it and you can feel it.”
Rodriguez believes buying coffee from local roasters is the best way to expand your palette.
“It’s just, you taste something different in every cup. There’s always something new to find,” he said.