Being 1/a caffeine addict 2/a foodie 3/always interested in new trends, I had been counting down the days to this year’s edition of the London Coffee Festival. It’s always fantastic opportunity to meet with independent roasters (Redroaster Coffee Co., Rocket Bean, Butterworth & Son, Windmill Street Coffee really caught my attention), see what big companies have been working on (Hotel Chocolat’s cacao nib ice-creams, called ice-cream of the gods, a fantastic umami taste, Baileys now does boozy iced coffee latte/mocha to go), drink an espresso martini or two… but also see how wonderfully little brands have grown. You suddenly feel so very proud of them.
What’s new in 2017? Lots more competitions, talks, presentations, latte art demonstrations. The London Coffee Festival’s getting bigger and bigger crowdier too (today was only the trade day!) and I wonder how long they will remain in the Old Truman Brewery. As England switches from a tea to coffee drinking nations, “geeky” brewing methods are considered normal – it just take a look at Bodum‘s stand to realise it. They have their own version of the Pour Over and Vacuum Coffee Maker. Cold Brew Coffee now really is mainstream – not so long ago, people barely knew what it was but wow! So many players on that scene now: Sandows of course, Her, Brass Monkeys… Cold Drip Coffee is making a bigger appearance so do stop by Batavia Coffee to see their amazing Cold Drip Tower. A cool find along the espresso maze was the quite handy Wacaco minispresso, for those who still want a luxurious dose of caffeine when they go camping: this works with either ground coffee or Nespresso machine. There are some cool coffee liqueurs too: Mr Black, Conker (of which I bagged a bottle – it’s fab in negroni) both based on cold brew.
Mostly, though, I was fascinated by the non-coffee side, more developed than ever. There is only a limited number of shots you can sip before buzzing… You need palate cleansers, sugar. Take your pick… Fancy a turmeric latte? Rude Health will make you one. A touch of matcha? You will love Rebel‘s chocolate and matcha coconut milk (if you are more of a coconut oil fan, additional readings here). An amazing chai? Prana Chai infuses its blend with oil and oh, the taste of cardamom is simply enchanting. A soda? We’re talking fizzy, fragrant but barely sweet here like Kitsch (rhubarb & Thai basil or Cucumber and fennel seed) or Big Boss Palm (addictive coconut and vanilla). A soft drink? Try Teaolat, Hotel Chocolat’s new light tea and cacao infusions. Something completely different that will tickle your tastebuds? Get yourself a cup of Jarr Kombucha, fermented tea.
If you can, book tickets for 2 days. There simply is too much to take in in 1!
London Coffee Festival | Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane, London
April 06-09, 2017