London Coffee Festival 2018: Things to see, drink and do
Every year, caffeine pilgrims and decaf disciples throng to the London Coffee Festival in the capital’s East End. The Old Truman Brewery becomes a multi-tiered temple, where die-hard devotees and recent converts alike go to sample news and brews from the industry. The event showcases giants of the coffee world alongside smaller innovative startups, catering to producers, suppliers, baristas, cafe-owners and regular drinkers looking to open up their palates to the versatility of this magic bean.
Let’s face it, for many, the quotidian cup of joe just doesn’t cut it anymore. People are seeking out ethical, flavourful alternatives and the same sensory excitement and refinement that we usually associate with wine aficionados. So if you find yourself staring day after day into the abyss of the instant coffee, go the the festival and let the abyss stare back.
But this is not just a celebration of the brew and all it can offer (and boy, is there a lot). Machines, matcha, and mezcal are set to appeal to audiences looking for flavour, smell and smart products. Coffee is not just a drink here, it is part of a lifestyle of beautiful design and tasteful homeware. Your beverage has to sit in the right container, and your favourite roast ground in the finest bit of German machinery. Hi-tech highlights on this front include the Perfect Moose hands-free milk frother, and a flask that lets you hand-pump your perfect espresso on the go.
If java’s not your cup of tea, an exciting arena that’s really hotting up is the world of the turmeric latte. Several stalls are peppered round the venue making a case for this golden spice – noted for its unique flavour and anti-inflammatory properties. There’s stiff competition on the festival floor to make the remarkable root into an essential part of the modern pantry, and you can’t help but be won over.
Coffee nerds will be pleased to see plenty of science and education on show, too – from precision roasters replete with numbers and graphs to educational offerings from the likes of the London School of Coffee. If you didn’t come in wanting to learn about what goes into your americano, the tastes, textures, aromas and terroir on offer will leave you with a thirst for knowledge. Without a doubt, the best blend on scene was the surprising Rwandan red bourbon roast served up by Mission Coffee Works – a herbal, almost grassy finish standing out against warm, nutty low notes.
You can spend all day tasting, sure, but once in a while it’s good to take a moment to sit down and enjoy a demonstration at The Lab, or watch some nifty latte art being done by expert baristas. Be sure to settle into some relaxation with a refined cup of something a little stronger than coffee – perhaps a smoky cocktail from Longflint, or a sexy liqueur from Mr Black.
The London Coffee Festival ticks all the boxes for a full-day event; there is so much to see and do, and if you ever get tired, you’re never more than a foot away from a pick-me-up. You are guaranteed to leave buzzing, enlightened, and excited to wake up to a hot drink in the morning.
Photos: Mathew Pull
The London Coffee Festival is at the Old Truman Brewery from 12th until 15th April. For further information or to book tickets visit here.