Exotic brews highlight first SA Coffee Fest 

click to enlarge COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy photo

Coffee aficionados have heard tales that the rarest beans aren't picked by hand. Like Monkey tea from China's Fujian Province, kopi luwak — civet coffee — is said to be harvested by animals. But though stories of monkeys picking tea leaves are most likely myths, the coffee named for the wild civet cat of Asia is real. The civet, a relative of the mongoose, is found on the island of Java and in the mountain rainforests of the Philippines. Equipped with a highly attuned sense of smell, it searches out the sweetest, ripest coffee berries, which pass whole through its system and are gathered from the civet's scat. The result is the most prized coffee in the world. From noon to 5 p.m. this Saturday at La Villita you will have a chance to try this strange (and costly) bean, along with over 30 other locally roasted brews, at the first San Antonio Coffee Festival.

Hosted by La Villita with assistance from SA Department of Culture and Creative Development, the SA Coffee Festival is the brainchild of Linda Brewster, a New Orleans native (and coffee fanatic) who founded the New Orleans Coffee Festival before moving here to live with her husband. While N' Orleans is famed for its own chicory-flavored java tradition, Texas is joining the specialty coffee ranks with a number of boutique roasters who will be at the fest to present educational talks about the what's and why's of coffee, and better yet, offer over 30 coffees for "cupping." Coffee tasting flights will be offered in four-cup tastings for $5 each, with light snacks available for purchase. The art of coffee is joined by an interactive Yarn Bomb that will allow visitors to help cover La Villita in colorful crochet and knitting — or make your own retro-Pop paintings at the S.M.A.R.T. Spin Art Bike while listening to tunes delivered by The Texan Natives. Coffee purveyors offering tastings include Fara Coffee, Kiva Coffee Roasters, Java Jack's Coffee, Independence Coffee, RedBud Roasters, La Bella Vita Gourmet, Ferra Coffee, and Bantai Civet Coffee. Other participants and sponsors include Local Coffee, Eyes Wide Open Coffee, Aspen's Brew, Culligan Water, and Oak Farms Dairy.

San Antonio Coffee Festival

Free; Coffee Tasting Flights $5
Noon-5pm, Dec 1
La Villita Historic Arts Village
418 Villita
(210) 207-8610
sacoffeefest.com

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