Starting this Thursday, March 17, Coffex Istanbul, an expo devoted entirely to coffee, will be taking place over the course of four days up until Sunday, March 20, at the Haliç Congress Center in Istanbul. Open to professionals in the industry as well as to coffee lovers of all kinds, this will be the fourth fair devoted entirely to the coffee bean, its processing and the plentiful products surrounding its preparation and service.
Highly anticipated and frequented by thousands from all over the world, the Coffex Istanbul Fair is the only expo in Turkey devoted entirely to coffee and its services. There will be approximately 70 different companies catering to the coffee industry and over 300 brands from all over the world, from the manufacturers and vendors of professional and domestic coffee machines to coffee shops, third wave and cold brewers, bountiful espresso and, of course, Turkish coffee in all of its forms. You can also find wholesale coffee bean sellers and roasters, roasting machines and all sorts of household coffee and tea contraptions.
In addition to coffee, all of those special treats that accompany a nice brew will also be on offer for purchase and tasting, ranging from frozen bakery items, ice cream, syrups, boutique teas, all sorts of chocolates and anything you can imagine that goes well with coffee. In addition to learning about all of the different roasters, brands and gourmet coffee shops in Turkey, this will also be an opportunity to check out all of the magazines and publications regarding coffee that are on offer in the country.
This year’s Coffex Istanbul will be the fourth edition and will last for a full four days. Highly anticipated each year, with many friends of mine flying out to Istanbul for the occasion and the Indonesian Consulate inviting me personally for a special press briefing on Indonesian coffee, this fair is unique and will certainly be a fun one. Furthermore, this year’s fair is anticipated to be the biggest of its kind in Turkey, as up to 20,000 domestic and international visitors are expected to take part, which is not a long shot as there were over 17,000 visitors from all over the world at the last Coffex fair. In addition to hundreds of stands, another major draw for participants are the continuous seminars, panels, tastings and competitions that take place throughout the day on the sidelines.
As part of a social responsibility project, artist Hatice Macun will be displaying her artwork created using coffee grounds in an exhibition entitled “Art’ta Kalan,” a stop in the fair that can also be turned into a hands-on workshop for visitors. Throughout the four-day fair there will also be workshops held on the process of preparing chocolate called “Aroha Bean to Bar Chocolate” as well as a daily roasting coffee workshop led by Toper.
One of the biggest highlights of the Coffex Fair is the presence of the Turkey leg of the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA), which will be holding a number of competitions on the sidelines to award the top baristas in Turkey. There will be continuous competitions on two stages in the categories of “Top Brewers,” “Top Baristas” and “Best Latte Art.” The winners of these competitions, which will be held throughout the four-day expo from morning throughout the afternoon, will then qualify to represent Turkey in the Melbourne World Coffee Championships, which will be held from Sept. 27 to 30. This means Turkey’s top coffee baristas will be competing in front of a live audience where they will be judged by an international panel of coffee experts.
Just some of the further highlights of the schedule are as follows: On Thursday, the opening day of the event, there will be a discussion on why consumers should read the labels of the coffee products they purchase. There will also be a workshop on different coffee brewing and grinding techniques and then later there will be a presentation of coffee “mocktail” recipes prepared with Nitrobrew. On Friday, there will be a discussion on the water used for coffee brewing, followed by a demonstration of innovative coffee processes. Later in the day, there will also be a demonstration of ice tea preparation and the "Yes Drink" followed by a talk on what to consider when opening a cafe.
On Saturday, the schedule starts off with a seminar on brewing coffee at home, equipped with a tasting. After that there will be a talk on how to source the right coffee for you. A special treat will be a workshop on Turkish coffee brewing accompanied by a tasting of famous confectioner Şekerci Cafer Erol’s Turkish delight. In the afternoon, there will be a Q&A session with MOC Coffee founder Sam Çeviköz on all things related to coffee. Then in the afternoon there will be a workshop held to shed light on the mistakes people make in their brewing techniques.
Sunday’s schedule includes a tasting of different roasts of coffee beans. There will also be a talk on zero waste awareness in food. In the afternoon, there will be a series of seminars on topics such as gastronomy and coffee and coffee as a weight loss aid. There will be a whole talk devoted solely to coffee and milk followed by a panel entitled “Sustainability in Coffee and Coffee Grinds.”
The fair will take place from Thursday, March 17 to Sunday, March 20 and the visiting hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Invited professionals in the industry can enter the fair for free, whereas everyone is welcome with a daily pass for TL 35, which is available for purchase online on Biletino or upon arrival at the door.