What to expect from the coffee festival coming to South End in March

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Photo by Elli McGuire.

As coffee barista Diana Mnatsakanyan-Sapp of Undercurrent Coffee puts it, things have been busy in her “little caffeinated corner of Charlotte.”

On Saturday, March 3, she and Matt Dudley of Marco Beverage Systems will host a specialty coffee festival, the POUR Coffee Festival, in South End.

Talented coffee roasters will be offering coffee samples from companies including Counter Culture Coffee, Methodical Coffee, Pure Intentions Coffee, Black and White Coffee Roasters, and Summit Coffee. There will be educational activities and mini-workshops to take part in throughout the day as well, from home-brewing demonstrations, to a “Seed to Cup” interactive mural, to a Flavor Wheel Exploration Room.

While Mnatsakanyan-Sapp said that people in Charlotte have been incredible about supporting independent coffee shops, there’s a gap between what the professionals know and what the consumers know about specialty coffee. The festival aims to fill that gap by giving people a chance to understand why they enjoy specific craft coffees — a product people interact with daily — from the origins to the tasting notes.

“If you want to know why, come to this festival,” she said.

The idea of a coffee festival came up when Dudley started attending Mnatsakanyan-Sapp’s Charlotte Coffee Collective meet ups (at which coffee professionals engage in workshops, tastings and other industry-related activities). Dudley travels for his work for Marco, a manufacturer of coffee brewing equipment, and has seen coffee events that Charlotte has yet to see. One of his sources of inspiration came from as far as Texas, with the Dallas Coffee Day festival featuring specialty roasters.

He pitched the idea to Mnatsakanyan-Sapp and the concept behind POUR started to form.

“We’re collecting people who are incredibly passionate and knowledgeable and who just want to share and pour out that knowledge with other people,” she said.

Proceeds from the POUR Coffee Festival will support the creation of a southeastern branch of Women Investing in Northwest Coffee Champions, a barista-led
initiative that provides tools, coaching and financial support for marginalized coffee professionals seeking to compete in coffee championships.

“The heart behind this isn’t just to taste coffee right,” Mnatsakanyan-Sapp said. “It’s to truly celebrate coffee culture and to celebrate people who work in the industry who are daily pouring their hearts out and are so passionate about this craft.”

Head to the POUR Coffee Festival

Saturday, March 3, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Location: The Unknown Brewing Co. at 1327 S. Mint Street in South End.

Get tickets here.

Photos: Elli McGuire.

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