Cup North 2015 Preview

An espresso being pulled on Foundry's Londinium lever espresso machine at Cup North 2014.Two weeks from now (Saturday/Sunday, 7th/8th November), Cup North, the self-styled two-day Northern Coffee Party, will be back. Once again gracing the fair city of Manchester, Cup North’s moved slightly west to the Victoria Warehouse in Stretford. Cup North was one of last year’s highlights. I had an amazing time and am delighted that Cup North is returning for a second year. If you missed last year’s event and are wondering what it’s like, then this preview is for you.

As a veteran of the London Coffee Festival, I find that Cup North, while having a similar focus on speciality coffee, is on a very different, much more manageable and, dare I say it, friendly, scale. Not that the London Coffee Festival’s unfriendly, but its sheer size and the number of visitors crammed in, make it a very hectic affair.

In contrast, much like the Glasgow Coffee Festival, Cup North is more laidback, with time to talk and socialise, an opportunity to really get to know the various exhibitors. With weekend tickets for under £20 (including booking fee), or just over £10 if you only want to do a single day, it really is a bargain. Get your tickets now!

Find out more about Cup North after the gallery, a round up of last year’s exhibitors.

  • Last year, Cup North was arranged along two corridors, starting with the merchandising stall.
  • First stand on the first corridor, the lovely Kokoa Collection, purveyors of fine hot chocolate.
  • Here's the equally lovely Paul, or the left luggage locker as I refer to him. Thanks, Paul.
  • Opposite side of the aisle was the La Cimbali stand, which I failed utterly to visit!
  • Next up was Ancoats Coffee and the lovely Jamie who seemed perpetually busy!
  • Opposite Ancoats was Hope & Glory, with the genius idea of a sofa. I spent a while over there.
  • From the other side of the Pennines, Foundry Coffee Roasters popped over from Sheffield.
  • Meanwhile, closer to (Cup North's) home, here comes Manchester's Passion Friut.
  • Back on the other side of the aisle I found Clifton Coffee Roasters in collaboration with TAKK.
  • Coffee Hit was there, selling a limited range from its fabulous on-line store.
  • However, I utterly failed to visit the Coopers stand, despite the presence of a Black Eagle!
  • I also utterly failed to see the guys from Mission Coffee Works, despite my best intentions.
  • At least I visited Holmforth's Grumpy Mule, having missed out at successive London Fesitvals.
  • Back across the aisle, I also missed out on  Duke's Cold Brew, seen here setting up the stand.
  • All the way from London were Climpson & Sons, roasters of some of my favourite coffee.
  • Almost at the end of the aisle, saving the best to the last, was Glasgow's Dear Green Coffee.
  • Across the aisle was DR Wakefield, green-bean importers from London.
  • Next to DR Wakefield was Canton Tea. Tea, at a coffee festival? What's the world coming to?
  • Right at the back was Makers Dozen, a collaborative art project.
  • And finally, tucked away in a corner was Union Hand-roasted, another really popular stand.
  • Moving over to the second corridor, there were lots of talks throughout both days.
  • Across the aisle was Square Mile, doing live roasting and proving extremely popular.
  • Next door to the talks were old friends, North Star Roast, all the way(!) from Leeds.
  • Next door to North Star was Falcon, speciality green coffee importers from Harrogate.
  • Across the way, another importer, InterAmerican Coffee, who never seemed to be there...
  • Then came a host of far-travelled wanders: all the way from Bristol, it's Extract.
  • And across from them, from even further afield, it's Brighton's Small Batch!
  • And talking of having come a long way, how about Origin, all the way from Cornwall?
  • There was also the La Marzocco pop-up cafe which I failed to visit even once!
  • From closer to home, just up the M6 in fact, J Atkinson and a 1950s FEAMA E61.
  • And even closer to home (but from Yorkshire!), Huddersfield's Bean Brothers.
  • On the second day, James Guard from Coffee Circle popped up from downstairs.
  • It wasn't just coffee: pop outside and there was street food, organised by Grub.
  • Meanwhile, I got this mug and bag of the Cup North blend just for turning up...
  • This, by the way, was my full haul.
  • Well, I say full. I forgot to mention the book!
  • However, this all pales into insignificence compared to haul Jamie of Ancoats picked up!
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Moving from last year’s venue, Artwork, this year’s Cup North will be in the Victoria Warehouse in Stretford, an easy tram-ride from the city centre. You can expect the usual coffee festival fare, including stalls from roasters, local cafés, coffee equipment suppliers, and, after an excellent debut last year, a street food market organised by GRUB. There’s also a lot going on event-wise, which I have a tendency to miss, usually because I’m too busy nattering with the exhibitors as I wander around the various stands.

Cup North has an excellent, well-designed website, which I urge you to check out, particularly if you want to know who’s exhibiting and what’s going to be on. Rather than regurgitate that here, I’m just going to concentrate some of the highlights.

As with the original Cup North, roasters are extremely well-represented. For me, it’s a chance to catch up with the great crop of local roasters, such as Heart & Graft and ManCoCo, although my friends at Ancoats won’t be there on account of moving to shiny new premises which I’m hoping to check out the day before the festival. The wider region is also well represented, with the likes of J Atkinson & Co from Lancaster, the Beanbrothers and Coopers from Huddersfield, and, all the way from over the Pennines, LeedsNorth Star. Talking of the Pennines, it’ll also be a chance for me to catch up with Bradford’s Casa Espresso and renew my acquaintance with the folks from Holmfirth’s Grumpy Mule.

From slightly further afield, the lovely Hope and Glory will be back for another year along with, all the way from Bristol, Clifton Coffee Roasters. However, vying for the title of furthest-travelled, we have Horsham Coffee Roaster and Brighton’s Small Batch, but pipping them both to the post is Cornwall’s Origin.

Perhaps less exciting for me, London is also well represented, with a host of roasters. On the other hand, these are the very people I never get a chance to talk to at the London Coffee Festival because it’s so damn busy.  Look out for the likes of Allpress, Climpson & Sons, Union Hand-roasted and Workshop. All these roasters will be joined by green-bean importers, Falcon and DR Wakefield and hot chocolate specialists, Kokoa Collection.

There’s also a full programme of events, including three coffee-focused films, A Film About Coffee, Caffeinated and Barista (aka Drip). These will be shown throughout the weekend at Victoria Warehouse’s own 20-seat cinema and admission is included in the price of your ticket.

On Saturday, you can watch 24 of the UK’s finest noses/palates going head-to-head in the UK Cup Tasters competition, while on Sunday, Tamper Tantrum is back with a full day of talks. If you fancy something a little more strenuous after all that education, on Saturday evening, Cup North will be hosting the UK National Coffee Throwing Championships, surely the pinnacle of the speciality coffee world…

With all this (and more) on offer, you’d be mad to miss it. If you’re lucky enough to live in Manchester, you can get your tickets (with no booking fee!) from local coffee shops such as North Tea PowerTAKK, Grindsmith, Fig + Sparrow and Pot Kettle Black. The rest of us need to head over to the Cup North website.

See you all there.

Monday N/A Roaster N/A
Tuesday N/A Seating N/A
Wednesday N/A Food N/A
Thursday N/A Service N/A
Friday N/A Cards N/A
Saturday 10:00 – 18:00 Wifi N/A
Sunday 10:00 – 17:00 Power N/A
Chain No Visits 7th/8th November 2015

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4 thoughts on “Cup North 2015 Preview

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