MILAN – In a bid to gather the coffee community together despite social restrictions, the Virtual Coffee Festival took place on Sunday 29 March 2020, between 1 pm and 5:30 pm CET. Coffee lovers and industry professionals from around the world were invited to watch the broadcast of the world’s first online coffee festival, free of charge or for a small donation of which the proceeds will be paid out to Doctors Without Borders.
The concept was created by Alex Kitain, founder of The Coffeevine – a popular coffee subscription and blog and Freshdrip, a single-serve coffee dripper for everyday use.
Despite being free, the concept is hoping to raise money for Doctors Without Borders by asking for a donation from participants – no matter how small.
The Virtual Coffee Festival was live-streamed on video conferencing platforms, Facebook and YouTube.
The program included five talks & workshops from international industry opinion leaders:
- Ronny Billemon (BE) – Author of Equilibrium in Water and Coffee
- Joe McTaggart (GB) – Community & Customer Support at Comandante Grinders
- Talor Browne (AU) – Founder of Talormade Coffee & Donuts
- Matt Winton (AU/SE) – Swedish Barista Champion & Swiss Brewers Cup Champion
- Wendelien van Bunnik (NL) – Dutch Barista Champion & World Aeropress Champion
Each speaker led a 20 – 25 minute online session, followed by a 20-25 minute Q&A discussion. Participants were invited to share their thoughts, inspirations and experiences by using the hashtag #virtualcoffeefestival.
“My aim is to send positive vibes to an industry currently in crisis, and a message of encouragement saying ‘Yes, we can get through this together’”, said Alex Kitain. “I would love the Virtual Coffee Festival to become a new recurring event – a great addition to the annual coffee festival calendar.”