Cafe Lara is calling all coffee geeks to its launch party of Cafe Fest, a week-long celebration of all things coffee, local and independent from May 5-11. "I like bringing the community together," says Lara Cusson. "I've been trying to get the coffee community together as much as possible—I think it's important that we all support each other."
Cafe owner (and namesake) Cusson reached out to fellow coffee people in the HRM to participate. Nineteen coffee shops got on board, all of which will be handing out coffee passports to their more adventurous patrons.
Haligonian coffee enthusiasts will be traveling from the Cottage Cafe in Dartmouth, to the Raven Espresso Boutique Coffee in Spryfield, Dilly Dally on Quinpool and Trident Booksellers in the south end, collecting stamps for a chance to win "highly caffeinated prizes." The goal is to get people talking about—and hopefully walking into—their local coffee shop. Maybe even inspire them to wander into a new coffee shop, in a new neighbourhood.
The idea originated with small batch coffee roasters Barista Microtorréfacteur in Montreal. They wanted to support other independent coffee shops, but also wanted to have a little fun, and thought festivals were the best way to get people involved in a little bit of both.
The festival has been gaining traction for the past four years in Quebec and has expanded in number of participating shops, special events and now, thanks to Cusson (who's originally from Montreal), its first east coast appearance.
The fest's closing party will coincide with Open City on May 11 and be dedicated to hardworking baristas. Cusson encourages loyal customers to come out and support their favourite barista for some "very silly, very friendly" competitions, including a blindfolded late art challenge and announcing the winner of the photo competition to win a full year's worth of coffee.