This weekend The London Coffee Festival is in town. As a fully paid up member of the ‘I drink coffee like Lorelai Gilmore’ club, this is right up my street and whether you enjoy coffee with your oxygen (ok I’ll stop with the Gilmore Girls references now) or once a week on a lazy Sunday morning, there is something for everyone.
It’s not just coffee!
Though it is a Coffee Festival with an emphasis on the beans we know and love, there are numerous stands with beverages other than coffee.
Tea aficionado? There’s lots of tea suppliers there so you can taste samples and maybe find your new favourite.
Only drink hot chocolate? Don’t worry, stands such as Hotel Chocolat have you covered with their range of hot chocolate on offer. (I tried the dark one and it was too bitter for me, but if that’s your thing, you can get it here.)
One of those people who doesn’t hot drinks at all? Don’t worry, there are still drinks for you, like Rebel mylk, various juices, iced teas, lemonades and a drink of coconut water and vanilla that takes like a delicious cream soda. I also found cactus water! There are two different types of whiskey, Baileys and two different types of coffee liqueur (personally, I recommend Mr Black) and various bars where you can buy beer and the obligatory espresso martinis. I also managed to find a coffee machine that was linked up to a beer keg instead of water so you could get beer out of the group head. Winning!
If, however, you do love coffee, there are loads of great stands to check out.
Union Hand Roasted have a huge stand with a different challenge each year; this year you get four samples of coffee and have to match them to the relevant flavour notes and then once it’s checked you get added to their scoreboard. Grumpy Mule had a filter sampler of three different coffees – two from the same farm, processed differently and one from the same farm but with a different bean called ‘San Francisco’ beans (that one was so good!), which gives you a chance of tasting three different coffees that taste entirely different but from the same region. There is just so much coffee! Go talk to people, try the filters, try the espressos, learn about the coffee you are drinking and where it comes from, it’s super interesting.
Cold brew is fast becoming more and more popular and there are a few cold brew stands to check out and try samples, including Minor Figures.
There are also lots of stands dedicated to the wonderful equipment used to make coffee from coffee machines themselves to various filter methods (and gorgeous tea pots).
Just a tip: even if you’re a hardened coffee fan, I would pace yourself, the heat of the Old Truman Brewery with all the coffee you will invariably drink can lead to a completely wired trance with an added bonus of tiredness all wrapped up in one.
There’s loads of stuff for the foodie in you too
This year I found a company doing vegan, gluten free biscuits. Also, this peanut butter. And all the Lotus spread I could ever want. Also popcorn, because popcorn is the best.
Vegan, dairy-free or lactose intolerant?
If you’re always on the lookout for the next best alternative milk to go in your coffee (or tea), what better place to look than the London Coffee Festival? As well as stands for dairy milk, there are a range of stands covering oat milk, coconut milk, soy milk and other dairy alternatives. Vita Coco‘s new coconut milk was my favourite – so creamy, something I feel you miss in almond milks as they can feel a bit thin.
There are a bunch of workshops, demonstrations and events.
You can sign up for various workshops in advance, watch the latte art experts at work and watch Coffee Masters – the multi-disciplinary global barista tournament. You can find all events here.
The London Coffee Festival runs 6-9th April this year at Old Truman Brewery and falls on around the same time every year. Tickets are £16.50 or £22.50 on the door. There is also the New York Coffee Festival in October this year and the Amsterdam Coffee Festival, which was in March.
Disclaimer: I got these tickets free because my full time 9-5 job is with a coffee company and I went on the two industry days, however it wasn’t dependent on writing about it. I genuinely do love coffee, am a bit of a coffee snob and would always recommend a visit to the London Coffee Festival.