Java Jive: The Asheville Coffee Expo Returns to the RAD on 9/30


Java Jive: The Asheville Coffee Expo Returns to the RAD on 9/30

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2016 Asheville Coffee Expo. Photo: David W.

I've often thought about writing an ode to coffee. Its rich aroma, bitter tang, and silky texture have made it a go-to beverage for me pretty much every day since the beginning of forever. Oh, and there's the whole caffeine thing. That, too. But in lieu of an ode, which would, frankly, be awful, I'd like to take a moment to help you get excited about Asheville's annual celebration of everyone's favorite addictive substance: the Asheville Coffee Expo!

Founded in 2016 by unapologetic coffee fiends Stu Helm and Angie Rainey, the Expo returns this year to highlight the best in local caffeinated offerings. This year, it's even (gasp!) going to include a tea pavilion from 3 Mountains. Everything happens down in the River Arts District on Ralph and Depot St. near Penny Cup Coffee Co., with an after-party hosted by Counter Culture Coffee at Burial Beer on the South Slope. The family-friendly day features a barista competition, a "best cup of coffee" audience judging round, and a cupping tent where tasters can learn the nuances of coffee varieities, plus yoga, music, art and craft vendors, and a "chill-out" space (like Zendo for folks who have the jitters?). The Expo kicks off at 10 am and go until 2 pm on Saturday, September 30. 

The Expo not only offers great coffee and tea, but will also have Root Down Food Truck on site, along with ice cream, chocolate, and baked goods. Food at the after-party will be available from Salt & Smoke.  

Facebook event page here.

Here's the full press release:


Asheville, NC, River Arts District - Stu Helm The Food Fan and present The 2nd Annual Asheville Coffee Expo! This FREE, highly caffeinated event will  be happening on Saturday, September 30th, 2017, from 10am - 2pm, and is located once again on the quiet, shady, and very pleasant Ralph Street, which is just behind PennyCup Coffee Co.'s roaster/cafe on the South-West side of the River Arts District. This year, the Asheville Coffee Expo will expand onto Depot Street for the first time with the 3 Mountains Tea Pavilion and Summit Coffee Co.'s Roasters Cupping Tent, located at The Eco Depot Marketplace, and Jon Sarver Realty, respectively.

IMPORTANT:  Depot Street will NOT be closed to traffic during the Asheville Coffee Expo.

The whole coffee community is abuzz about the return of this fun, FREE, family friendly festival, which is the only one of its kind in the WNC area! According to co-organizers Stu Helm and Angie Rainey, the 2nd Asheville Coffee Expo will be a repeat of the very successful inaugural event, only bigger and better, with the addition of the Tea Pavilion, Cupping Tent, and an After-Party to be hosted by Counter Culture Coffee at Burial Beer on the South Slope. The 3 Mountains Tea Pavilion will be hosted in the courtyard of the Eco Depot Market Place on Depot Street, right around the corner for the Expo. Featuring tea, treats, yoga, music, and a "chill-out" space. The Summit Coffee Roasters Cupping Tent will also be on Depot Street, in the parking lot in front of the John Sarver Real Estate Company, where Summit will be welcoming all of the attending roasters and the public to participate in the coffee "cupping" process throughout the day. The average coffee lover can learn the terminology and nuances of tasting, describing, and classifying coffee, and the professional roasters can meet each other and compare thoughts and notes.

IMPORTANT: Dogs are NOT allowed in the Expo Area, but will be allowed in the Tea Pavilion on Depot Street.

The public is invited to browse the tables, try free samples, buy coffee, tea, snacks, art, ceramics, and more from among the 40+ vendors from around WNC and beyond!  The Asheville Coffee Expo's 2017 vendors include: 3 Mountains • Africa Healing Exchange • Asheville Bee Charmer • Asheville Tea Co. • Be Well Balanced • Black Powder Roasting Co. • Bomba • Carrboro Coffee Roasters • City Bakery • • Compost Now! • Dobra Tea • The Dripolator Black Mtn • Dynamite Roasting Co. • Eco Depot Marketplace • Elisha Mitchell Audubon Club • Farm to Home Milk • French Broad Chocolates • Geraldine’s Bakery • Herbiary • High Five Coffee • The Hop Ice Cream • Hotbox Roasters & B. Stiff & Sons Soda • Hot Yoga Asheville • Independent Bean Roasters • Ingenious Coffee Co. • Izzy’s Coffee Den & Coffee House • Jenay Martin Ceramics • Kona Kaffee • Misty Mountain Bakeshop • Motyl Pottery • Mr. Bob’s Donuts • Notorious Coffee Roasting • PennyCup Coffee Co. • Pisgah CoffeeRoasters • Qualla Java Cafe • The Rhu • Root Down Food Truck • Scott's Knots • Shade Raised Organic Coffees • Share Well Coffee Co • Summit Coffee • Sunnyside Trading Co. • Trade and Lore Coffee • Tribal Grounds Coffee • Ultra Coffeebar • Vortex Doughnuts • Well Played Board Game Cafe • 


The Asheville Coffee Expo features three chances for baristas to show their chops! A panel of "celebrity" judges will preside over the "Triple Espresso Barista Challenge" competitions, in which baristas will compete in making great latte art, the perfect cappuccino, and a "freestyle" espresso beverage of their own creation, with prize packages provided by PennyCup Coffee Co. and Go FRS Asheville Restaurant Equipment Supply going to the winners!  The barista throw downs are hosted & sponsored by PennyCup Coffee Co. and PennyCup at The YMI. The public will be invited to cast a ballot for the best cup of coffee among all of the vendors, and at the end of the event, those votes will be tallied, and the “Best House Cup” trophy will be awarded to the winner! The current cup holder is Dynamite Roasting Company (Black Mountain), who will either successfully defend their trophy for another year, or be forced to hand it over to the new champs, a la The Stanley Cup in the NHL!

Bakeries, chocolatiers, ice cream makers, and other food makers are a big part of the Asheville Coffee Expo, and some of the area's best will be represented in both the Coffee and Tea areas.  Additionally, Root Down food truck -- voted the Best Food Truck in Asheville --  will be at the 2017 Asheville Coffee Expo!  The amazing and talented Chef Dano Holcomb will be cooking and serving delicious brunch items utilizing and inspired by coffee!  Food will be available at the after party from Salt & Smoke, named "2016 Restaurant of the Year" by Stu Helm: Food Fan.

None of the vendors need worry about bringing or refrigerating milk, because generous folks at Farm to Home Milk are donating both cow and goat milk for the festival again this year!  

The Asheville Coffee Expo is proud and happy to be teaming up with Buncombe County Special Olympics (BCSO) to raise funds and awareness through their "Coffee For Champions" program. During the entire month of September, participating cafes will be donating 1¢ per cup of coffee sold to BCSO, culminating on the 30th with the Asheville Coffee Expo, where the athletes will be in attendance, and BCSO will be offering fun, games, and coffee sack races to kids and adults alike. Please show up to show your support the athletes and volunteers for Buncombe County Special Olympics! 

Produced and organized by: Stu Helm: The Food Fan, and Angie Rainey of
Hosted by PennyCup Coffee Co.
Sponsored by: 3 Mountains, Cafe Imports, Counter Culture Coffee, Summit Coffee, Farm to Home Milk, Go FRS Asheville, Food Life Magazine, Eco Depot. PennyCup at The YMI,, and Harrold & Rainey Law Offices.

The Asheville Coffee Expo is a celebration of coffee and all things coffee-relayed! Vendors, demos, roasters, cafes, barista competitions, prizes, coffee sack races, bakers, ice cream makers, artists, more!  This is a FREE event, open to the public, that is family friendly.

Ralph Street in Asheville's River Arts District
Centered in and around the PennyCup Coffee Co. cafe and roaster located in the RAD, near the corner of Depot and Bartlet Streets.

Part festival for the public and part convention / social event for the coffee community, where anyone and everyone who enjoys coffee can gather, meet, exchange ideas, relax, laugh, eat, and drink together!

Saturday, September 30th, 2017, 10am - 2pm
After Party at Burial Beer starts at 3:00

The coffee loving public is invited to join the fun by simply showing up! 
There is plenty of street parking, but walk or ride a bike if you can!
This event is free!