I wasn’t really sure what to expect of the famous London Coffee Festival but boy is this a busy place. After getting off the plane this morning I rushed straight into the city of London to get my morning caffeine shot(s) from the various coffee exhibitors at the festival. Upon arriving I was given a lanyard for my pass and a goodie bag that came from a huge mountain of bags greeting visitors as they walk in.
Only after you have actually gone for a walk around all the rooms you get a feeling for how big this festival really is. I was a bit lost at first as many rooms are quite small, packed and awkwardly arranged but after getting out my map and putting a little √ next to all the people I wanted to meet I embarked on my “conquest de charme”.
For me it was more important to speak to all the local roasters to drum up some support for our new project and despite each stand being super crowded I was amazed at the fantastic response I got. It’s always tough pitching a story but people’s openness and interest was really unprecedented.
My stops included chats with:
Mission Coffee Works, Union Handroasted, Caravan, Island Roasted, Allpress, Alchemy, Volcano and a few more. I even managed to bump into some familiar faces from Hamburg, Dubai and Amsterdam, including our friends Moniek Smit and Bas from Single Estate Coffee.
The vibe here, on the last trade only day, is quite relaxed now that the first hoard of visitors has moved on. Of course you’ll find, next to the small artisan roasters, all the big names in coffee as well as several areas dedicated to non-coffee products like tea, chocolate, fudge and food. I had a delicious oriental dumpling and superfood dish that definitely filled me up.
In the True Artisan Café area small local coffee businesses are showcasing their work, which is a great opportunity to sample some of their coffees. Poor Simon from Caravan was a bit stressed when I went over to see him as their Strada had just failed so instead he offered me Karma Kola from New Zealand.
There are also a number of interesting talks and other demos here, including a guy who was making cocktails with coffee, a championship for making Turkish style coffee, various SCAE events and championships and downstairs in the Milk & Sugar area there are taylors, barbers and cocktail bars in a much more relaxed atmosphere.
Although my day is by no means over yet I am really stoked to have been given the chance to attend. It’s definitely a great experience and there’s nothing like sitting down to drink a cup of coffee, leafing through the latest edition of Caffeine magazine and seeing your own article printed on paper. Too bad they forgot to credit me as the author but just in case, now you know!