London. Home to Buckingham Palace, Prince Harry, Wimbledon, Big Ben, Ben’s Cookies, Shoreditch House, over 215 independent coffee houses AND The London Coffee Festival. Since it’s inception 6 years ago, this festival has grown fast to be come one of the world most popular and most visited festivals. It was time to find out what all the fuss is about. After all, we are only talking about coffee right? Wrong – we are talking about coffee culture, passion, education, industry, craft, engineering, and bearded hipster male baristas.. oh and Espresso Martini of course.
Location, Location, Location – yes this festival is definitely held in one of the hippest parts of East London, Shoreditch. Fabulous cafés and coffees on every corner! The Old Truman Brewery would be home to coffee freaks and fans for a whole week. Move over beer, fashion and photography, it was time for coffee to take the stage again.
With my VIP Press Pass securely fastened to my wrist, I was ready for all this festival had to offer, and more.
My London Coffee Festival fun started with the official opening event on Friday, April 8. I was bubbling with excitement as I picked up my VIP wrist band and my cute hipster bag full of goodies, including The London Coffee Guide 2016. I was so overwhelmed that I started by reviewing the enormous map of exhibitors and daily events. Where do I start? I figured the best way was to ask those who had gone before me, the experienced VIP’rs who were sitting with me. After an hour or so of great conversation and coffee industry insites, I was ready to be taken on a quick tour by Matt Slater, International Re:co Symposium Director at World Coffee Events. As Matt was explaining each section of the festival, I made mental notes of the key places I needed to come back to. Union, Square Mile, the Tate, Origin, the Grumpy Mule, UCC, La Marzocco… oh the list was so long. Post tour, I needed an Espresso Flat White Martini – yum! And from there, it was on to the La Marzocco pizza and beer party. Perfect start to a great coffee based weekend..
I made my way back to the Festival on Saturday afternoon, after a fantastic breakfast and flat white at Franz and Evans. What did I find on the Saturday as I walked through the VIP doors? Coffee lovers everywhere! I had experienced crowds at food festivals, but nothing like what I experienced here. Just as well I had a very specific plan, and that was to go through The Canteen experience which was created for the festival by Square Mile. It was wow! I managed my way through to try espresso at Origin which was fabulous.
So many stands, so many great people and lots and lots of yummy, unforgettable espresso.
On Sunday, I needed a dose of London café experience. A few streets away from Oxford circus, I stumbled across Curators Coffee. An almost perfect Aussie flat white and lovely Nude Espresso. Next, it was an afternoon, post shopping espresso hit at Department of Coffee and Social Affairs. If I was going to give out ratings, it would be 5 out of 5 all around! Not only for the espresso, but for the friendliness, coffee knowledge and overall service. Love London!
The Coffee Me Zurich London Tour part 1 would not have been complete without a golden find, The Black Penny. A great little place to stop for lunch, and the espresso was amazing. Friendly service, great prices and charming atmosphere makes this place one to remember.
With 4 out of 215 cafés visited, all I can say is London I love you and I will be back!
Thank you to the team at The London Coffee Festival for giving me the opportunity to be part of this fabulous experience. #lcf2016