London Coffee Festival 2014: Preview

The London Coffee Festival LogoHow time flies! It only seems like yesterday that I was heading for my first London Coffee Festival, wondering what delights it would hold. Now I’m looking forward to next weekend when this year’s event will once again grace the Old Truman Brewery in Brick Lane!

For those who don’t know, the London Coffee Festival is the flagship event of UK Coffee Week and the UK’s leading coffee festival. Consisting of six festival zones (down from eight last year) and 13 areas of activity, there’s food, music, art and, of course, coffee!

If you want to know what I thought about it last year, you can read my 2013 Preview and see what I made of Friday’s Industry Day or Sunday’s Consumer Day. This year the format is very much the same, with industry days on Thursday and Friday and three-hour consumer sessions on Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday.

My first piece of advice is that if you want to go, get your ticket now! They are selling fast and I confidently predict that by next weekend they will have all gone. With that caveat in mind, I present my preview of the London Coffee Festival 2014!

You can read my preview after the gallery, a short high-light reel from last year.

  • Let's start with the True Artisan Cafe and Edy, the man behind Terrone Coffee.
  • Another highlight was Talkhouse. Here Edy gatecrashes to show off his (admittedly very fine) moustache.
  • If it's competitions you're after, you're in luck. Only sometimes it can be hard to see what's going on!
  • If you prefer making your own, head to the Make Decent Coffee Lounge where experts are on hand.
  • There's also plenty of coffee kit for sale too...
  • Or you could just drool over the shiny machines, like this 1961 Faema E61 from the La Cimbali stand.
  • Don't forget to eat. A highlight last year was lunch from the Arancini Brothers...
  • ... followed up by a waffle!
  • My final stop of the 2013 Festival: Ozone Coffee Roasters
Let's start with the True Artisan Cafe and Edy, the man behind Terrone Coffee.1 Another highlight was Talkhouse. Here Edy gatecrashes to show off his (admittedly very fine) moustache.2 If it's competitions you're after, you're in luck. Only sometimes it can be hard to see what's going on!3 If you prefer making your own, head to the Make Decent Coffee Lounge where experts are on hand.4 There's also plenty of coffee kit for sale too...5 Or you could just drool over the shiny machines, like this 1961 Faema E61 from the La Cimbali stand.6 Don't forget to eat. A highlight last year was lunch from the Arancini Brothers...7 ... followed up by a waffle!8 My final stop of the 2013 Festival: Ozone Coffee Roasters9
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So, the London Coffee Festival, eh? Where to start? Well, the first thing to do, after you’ve bought your ticket (and I’m not joking, if you’re going and you don’t have a ticket, get one now!) is download the free London Coffee Festival Magazine. It’s packed full of information on what’s going on. The second thing to do is sit down and read it, but not before I’ve pulled out some highlights for you…

For me, the top attraction is the True Artisan Café, a pop-up coffee shop featuring four of the country’s top roasters/cafés per session (up from three last year). Instead of wandering around the country in order to try them all out (that’s my job, by the way, and you can’t have it!), the London Coffee Festival brings them to you, all under one roof. Personal highlights (for me) are:

However, don’t take my word for it: head over to the festival website and make your own selections.

For others, the undoubted highlight will be the semi-finals (Saturday) and finals (Sunday) of the UK Barista Championships. There will also be a host of other competitions on Thursday and Friday (see the festival website for details).

Other things to look out for include the Make Decent Coffee Lounge (does what it says on the tin); I learnt lots of things from those guys last year! You can also head over to the World Coffee Tour where the wizards at Union Hand-Roasted Coffee will lead you through various coffees of the world and explain the mysteries of roasting, brewing and tasting coffee.

Some tips that I learnt from last year. While there is plenty of coffee to be had and the Street Food and Artisan Markets will keep you amply fed during the day, take some water with you! It’s easy to get dehydrated and there is no water easily to hand. The other thing is that there is no cloakroom, so unless you want to be lugging your backpack around all day, don’t bring it with you!

The final question is, when to attend? Well, Thursday and Friday are industry days, so unless you are in the trade, these are probably best avoided. That leaves Friday evening and Saturday and Sunday. If you come along on Friday evening (five o’clock until eight o’clock), you get the bonus of the launch party afterwards (eight until ten). On Saturday and Sunday, the days are split into three 3-hour sessions: Brunch, Lunch and Teatime, and your ticket covers you for just one of these sessions. The smart money seems to be on the Sunday lunchtime session since this covers the UK Barista Championship finals.

The other consideration is whether you want to run into me. I’ll definitely be there on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, although I won’t be there for any of the morning sessions, On the other hand, if avoiding me is your priority, then Thursday is your best bet!

15 HANBURY STREET • THE OLD TRUMAN BREWERY • LONDON • E1 6QR
http://www.londoncoffeefestival.com/
Thursday 10:00 – 17:00 (Industry only)
Friday 10:00 – 17:00 (Industry only)
17:00 – 20:00 (Evening Session)
20:00 – 22:00 (Launch Party)
Saturday 10:00 – 13:00 (Brunch Session)
13:00 – 16:00 (Lunch Session)
16:00 – 19:00 (Teatime Session)
Sunday 10:00 – 13:00 (Brunch Session)
13:00 – 16:00 (Lunch Session)
16:00 – 19:00 (Teatime Session)

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