WHAT IS YOUR MISSION WITH THE LONDON COFFEE FESTIVAL?
It’s all about elevating standards in the coffee industry and educating people about speciality coffee, as well as celebrating the vibrant London coffee scene and the shops that form its backbone.
WHAT CAN PEOPLE EXPECT?
The festival is now in its fifth year and has grown to become the UK’s largest coffee and artisan food event. It has everything the coffee scene has to offer, packed into a four-day, multi-sensory and interactive event programme. This year’s festival features tastings and demonstrations from world-class baristas, interactive workshops, seminars, live music and DJs.
Highlights include the festival’s “lab programme”, the inaugural Coffee Masters competition, new restaurant concept the White Label Kitchen and The House of Coffee & Co – the festival’s brand new VIP Hospitality Suite.
The festival will feature more than 250 exhibitors including coffee roasters, some of the finest indie cafés, new food start-ups and the latest coffee brewing kits plus some of your favourite brands like The Roasting Party, Union Hand-Roasted, Ozone Coffee Roasters, DRWakefield, Square Mile, Caravan, Monkey 47, Bailey’s, Lindt and Crosstown Doughnuts.
WHAT’S YOUR ADVICE FOR FESTIVAL GOERS?
As you arrive, head to L’Accademia di Cimbali to pick up your free coffee tasting notebook (be quick, they will go fast) and ask Rob at the Mumac espresso bar to prep you a coffee flight. Continue your journey of discovery using your tasting notebook to score the various coffees you experience at the festival.
Take a stroll through the Coffee Masters arena and watch the baristas fighting head-to-head for the prestigious Coffee Masters title. Grab a bespoke coffee creation from The True Artisan Café and enjoy their live DJs spinning the discs.
Finally, head downstairs to Milk & Sugar, the fashion and lifestyle district of the festival. Browse the latest indie labels and pay a visit to the Bourbon Bar & Gin Parlour (home of aromatic Monkey 47 gin from the Black Forest and Four Roses bourbon).
HOW DO YOU THINK LONDON COMPARES TO CITIES LIKE MELBOURNE AND NEW YORK IN THE COFFEE STAKES?
Melbourne has been the catalyst of the third wave of coffee and its trends have gradually filtered down into the London coffee scene. London has no need to envy Melbourne though; the scene is progressing nicely. We’re at least as forward-thinking as New York, if not more so. We’ll be launching The New York Coffee Festival in September.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THE OLD TRUMAN BREWERY FOR THE FESTIVAL?
The Old Truman Brewery is a beacon for start-up businesses in the technology and media sectors and these are closely interlinked with the ideologies shared by those working in the London coffee scene.
WHERE'S THE BEST PLACE TO GET A COFFEE IN LONDON?
The London Coffee Festival! This year we’ve got more than 200 artisan coffee stalls and roasters offering single origin coffees and unique blends and the True Artisan Café (La Marzocco’s pop-up coffee shop) has more than 30 different signature drinks to choose from. During the Coffee Masters competition, the Showroom is the place to be for an excellent cup of coffee.
STARBUCKS WILL HAVE A BIG PRESENCE THIS YEAR – HOW DO THEY FIT WITH THE MORE ARTISAN ROASTERIES?
Starbucks are an important part of the coffee industry and we are delighted to showcase their reserve coffee. This year at the festival they will be recreating their Seattle “R” roastery, the first time this Starbucks experience will be delivered outside of the US.
Starbucks are essential for the growth of the industry, as they help to educate consumers in what a flat white, cappuccino and espresso are, leading them towards the journey to a better cup of coffee.
IS THERE A FEAR THAT POPULARITY IN COFFEE COULD START TO WANE AFTER A PRETTY AMAZING FEW YEARS?
Not at all – if anything it’s the opposite. The coffee scene has become an integral part of the British high street. Consumers are becoming more knowledgeable about speciality coffee and are starting to expect high-quality coffee in cafes, pubs and restaurants, and the hospitality industry is now taking coffee seriously.
If you visit Melbourne the coffee is consistently good – it’s nothing unusual and London is going the same way. Once you’ve tried speciality coffee, there’s no going back.
Tell us something interesting that we don't know about the festival
You will be able to make your own espresso blend, which is the first time people have been able to wet blend different coffees on site.