2014 is the year of the Coffee Festival and it looks to be ending as strongly as it started. Things kicked off in April with the annual fixture that is the London Coffee Festival, soon followed by the inaugural Amsterdam Coffee Festival (which I’d have gone to, had it not been so close to the London Coffee Festival!). Not to be outdone, there was the first ever Dublin Coffee and Tea Festival (September) which, alas, I also couldn’t attend, and Manchester’s Cup North on the first weekend in November, which I did attend.
The end of the year sees two back-to-back events in Glasgow. The first, happening today (29th November) is the inaugural Scottish Coffee Festival, while exactly a week later comes the subject of today’s Saturday Supplement, the inaugural Glasgow Coffee Festival!
In a fit of bad timing, conflicting commitments and an expiring free train ticket, I’d already arranged to go to Edinburgh/Glasgow this weekend. That was before I even knew that the Glasgow Coffee Festival was taking place. Such is its strong line-up that I’ve seriously considering returning next weekend just to attend. Sadly things haven’t worked out, but that’s no reason for you not to go!
You can see what I’ll be missing at the Glasgow Coffee Festival after the gallery.
The first ever Glasgow Coffee Festival will be taking place on Saturday, 6th December 2014 at the city’s iconic The Briggait from ten in the morning until seven in the evening. It’s being organised (or “curated” in the modern jargon) by my friends from Dear Green Coffee, who are giving me all sort of (good-natured) grief for not being able to make it.
Of course, a coffee festival is only as good as its exhibitors, and this is where the Glasgow Coffee Festival has struck gold, with some of the best Scotland has to offer, with the occasional interloper from further afield, which includes sponsors La Marzocco and Marco Beverage Systems. This also includes green bean importers Falcon Speciality Coffee (who I managed to miss at Cup North), equipment suppliers Coffee Hit and the lovely Piers Alexander, author of the historical novel The Bitter Trade.
The roasters will be out in force, with Glen Lyon Coffee joining Glasgow’s own Dear Green Coffee, plus local roaster-cafés Artisan Roast, Papercup and Avenue G. From further afield, J Atkinson & Co, from Lancaster, and Cumbria’s finest, Carvetii, are both venturing north of the border.
They’ll be joined by a diverse group such as Edinburgh’s Brew Lab, Machina Espresso and the lovely Made by Knock, purveyors of fine equipment such as hand-grinders and knock-boxes. Also putting in an appearance will be Glasgow-based trainers, Fun in a Cup, and, once again, someone’s let a tea company into a coffee festival. In this case, it’s Glasgow’s very own Dormouse Tea Company.
As well as the exhibitors, there’s also going to be some excellent coffee on offer. While it’s no excuse not to visit them in person, the Glasgow Coffee Festival will be bringing the best of the Glasgow Coffee scene to The Briggait. LA Group and Williams Brothers will be setting up a bar and the Glasgow Independent Coffee Initiative will be proving the coffee. This includes representatives of such fine places as McCune Smith, The Glad Cafe, Riverhill Coffee Bar, Siempre Cafe, Avenue G, Papercup, Peep Show, Laboratorio Espresso, Veldt Deli and Artisan Roast.
If you fancy doing more than just drinking coffee, master-classes will be taking place throughout the day. These include Espresso Martini Making, Anatomy of an Espresso Machine, Latte Art and Brewing (coffee, one assumes, rather than beer). There’ll also be open coffee cuppings to increase your coffee knowledge and appreciation.
If that isn’t enough, the Glasgow Coffee Festival has been timed to coincide with the Scottish Heat of the UK Barista Championships. The highlight of the UK barista calendar, this will pit participants from across Scotland against one another for a chance to represent Scotland at the UK Championships in 2015.
Finally, the Glasgow Coffee Festival coincides with the Scottish premiere of “A Film About Coffee”, described as a “love letter to, and meditation on, speciality coffee”.
So, what are you waiting for? Tickets are now on sale for £9 (plus booking fee) at www.glasgowcoffeefestival.com. Your ticket includes a hot drink and entry into a prize draw!
Update: while I was in Glasgow today, Lisa of Dear Green Coffee gave me a sneak preview of The Briggait, where the Glasgow Coffee Festival is going to be held. What at amazing building! If you don’t believe me, I’ve updated the gallery with a photo I took while I was there. This festival is going to be awesome! If you have the opportunity, you really must go!
You can see what Glasgow Coffee Blogger, Grind My Beans, thinks of the festival in this preview and you can see what Alison Bell made of the festival itself in her two-part report.
If anyone else went and has written a piece about it, let me know and I’ll put the link up here.
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