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Photo from the "Caffeinated" documentary

This Weekend, Wake Up and Smell the Coffee Fest

A new Boulder County event features everything from films and coffee-roasting demos to barista lessons—plus plenty of caffeine.

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Imagine a festival dedicated to the beverage most adults in the United States wake up with and you’ve got Coffee Fest, a weekend-long celebration of java and culture that’s debuting on April 13 and 14 in the east Boulder County towns of Lafayette and Erie.

The idea behind Coffee Fest started when Erie Coffee Roasters participated in the 2018 Flatirons Food Film Festival in October. “We loved their coffee and working with them, which spawned the idea of a more significant collaboration in the future,” says Julia Joun, the executive director and founder of the Flatirons Food Film Festival. “Coffee is a great topic, so we decided to explore it in our first event outside of Boulder.”

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Not to be confused with the trade show Coffee Fest, this local version features “everything from films about coffee and coffee roasting demos to barista lessons on latte art and espresso shot pulling,” Joun says.

Attendees can expect to learn about the nuances of coffee from seed to cup. Waste diversion will also be a hot topic, and you can expect to learn how coffee companies are producing less trash and what you as a consumer can do to help. Highlights include a Saturday screening of the documentary Caffeinated at Arts Hub (420 Courtney Way, Lafayette, 303-229-1127), which dives into the fascinating process of creating some of the world’s best joe, as well as a coffee painting exhibition by visiting Pennsylvania artist Craig Peterson.

While coffee geeks will find plenty to love, the uninformed java drinker is also welcome. “The specialty coffee industry can seem like an overwhelming abyss of the unknown, something only for professionals,” says Lisa Zautke, co-founder of Erie Coffee Roasters. “We enjoy taking away the snobbery that tends to follow high-quality coffee. Specialty coffee is for everyone, whether you drink it daily or only on special occasions—it’s a mindset, not an elitist act.”

You can see firsthand how Erie Coffee Roasters (300 Airport Drive, hanger #307, Erie; 720-309-3968) roasts, packages and sells its beans during a Sunday morning tour from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Local baristas from East Simpson Coffee Company and Precision Pours will also be on hand to showcase their skills and teach visitors a thing or two about latte art and pouring the perfect cappuccino.

And, added Joun, you can expect plenty of coffee on hand for sipping.

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If you go: Tickets for the 2019 Coffee Fest run $15 per day or $26 for the weekend, and are free for ages 12 and under. Guests who bring their own mugs get a $1 rebate or ticket price discount. Purchase tickets here or at the door. April 13 and 14, times and locations vary

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