The London coffee scene has made leaps and bounds over the past few years, with independent coffee shops staffed by professional baristas who take their craft seriously springing up all over town. It’s no surprise, then, that the flagship event of UK Coffee Week takes place in London. Running from April 25-28 at the Old Truman Brewery just off Brick Lane, the London Coffee Festival features barista demonstrations, artisan coffee tastings and workshops on making a decent cup at home. There will also be food markets, art and live music. Here’s a rundown of what you can expect at the event:
Designed to look like a parkland village, the Hyde Park zone is the place to sit and listen to live acoustic music from artists such as Larissa Eddie and Tom Moon. You’ll also find the Chocolate Factory, packed with tasty treats such as Devnaa’s award winning Chai caramel and gourmet fudge from the Fudge Kitchen, and the Tea Garden, showcasing innovative teas including beautifully balanced herbal and fruit teas from tea gardens around the world. This zone will also draw on La Cimbali’s heritage and experience in coffee-making equipment to showcase machines from different eras. See the development of roasting and brewing and find out how coffee-drinking styles and fashions have shifted throughout the decades.
The Soho zone has an edgier vibe. Visit the Roastery to find out what it takes to get the best out of the bean, and call in to True Artisan Café to meet baristas from London’s best independent coffee shops such as Notes and Sacred and to taste their carefully crafted signature drinks.
Once you’ve worked up an appetite, go to the Shoreditch area. Here you’ll find the Street Food Market, a showcase of London’s diverse culinary scene, offering everything from gourmet burgers to Indian roti wraps. In the Artisan Market, graze on deli-style nibbles and sample coffees from the finest boutique roasters such as Capital, from Wimbledon, and Greenbean Coffee Roasters from Ireland.
Want to make great java at home? Check out the Showroom to test drive state-of-the-art brewing machinery and accessories. You can also watch the UK Barista Championships on the UK Coffee Events stage here. This competition tests knowledge, preparation, presentation and execution and showcases the crème de la crème of coffee-making ability.
Education, education, education. Stop by the Lab to watch debates, hear talks and to get involved with the interactive demonstrations. Highlights include Brewers & Union (Saturday at 6 p.m.), which explores the similarities between coffee and craft beer, and Coffee 101 (Sunday, 2 p.m.), a crash course in java for beginners.
Make Decent Coffee Lounge
Banish that jar of instant joe and fire up the machine you’ve had sitting on your worktop gathering dust — it’s time to bring good coffee home. Visit the Make Decent Coffee Lounge to learn from the best, with experts teaching visitors how to make the perfect pot without leaving the house.
Photos Courtesy of Joan Torrelles and The London Coffee Festival