Over the years we’ve been to a lot of exhibitions, conferences, expos, showcases, and trade shows, but nothing quite compares to the London Coffee Festival. This maze-like three level show makes itself at home at the Old Truman Brewery in Shoreditch and invites the whole city of London to enjoy coffee—but that’s not all! The fest brings chefs, makers, artists, musicians, and much more into the mix, ensuring something for everyone and making it possible to see something brand new the four straight days we’re there.

Here are ten things one might not normally expect to see at a coffee fest, in full force and on blast here at the 2017 London Coffee Festival.

Fresh Flowers

High-end cafes often team up with top florists to produce one-of-a-kind arrangements to complement the coffee drinking experiénce. Truly, to be a great shop, one needs great flowers. So why aren’t more florists showcasing their talents at these coffee exhibitions? Bloomon, the plucky Amsterdam-born flower arrangers have their talent in full display here at the London Coffee Festival, and it’s down-right civilized.

Flower Blossom Tea

We’re big on tea at Sprudge. You might not think it, what with our largely coffee focused features, but between shots of espresso we’ve been known to dip our toes in the tea world. We’ve featured some truly inspiration pioneers in the tea world like Peter Luong of Song Tea and the fine folks at Spirit Tea out of Chicago. And then there’s Flora Tea here in London, who specialize more in the oohs-and-ahhs of tea instead of the rare oolongs and fine assam. Simon Hao, who cranks out twenty to thirty of these shows a year, was on hand showing off Flora Tea’s blossoming beau-teas.

DJ Booths

There were booths aplenty at the Coffee Festival, providing different moods throughout the festival. Some George Michael good vibes pairs nicely with an espresso martini (the music was better than the drink, tbth). Some down-tempo untz-untz went down smooth with my Wush Wush. And some late-nineties Brit-Pop from none other than DJ Sprudge sounded good from the speakers at the La Marzocco booth late Saturday.

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Freddie Elborne, founder of Monc sunglasses, showed of his first collection this year. The London-based designer had five shapes on display, and feature his sunglasses at stockists in LA (Maher), Vienna, and London.

Virtual Reality

Liqui Group and Crate 47 offered passers-by the unique opportunity to try on a pair of virtual reality goggles to take a three-dimension look inside their cafe interiors. What better way to enjoy the festival than virtually leaving it, entering a cafe from the future in Al Khayvat, Saudi Arabia? If you can think of a better way, we’d like to here it.

A/V Sensory Experiences (the V stands for Vaping)

Tate & Lyle offered guests a chance to munch on hunks of fudge whilst sniffing aromatic vapors as a gentle high-frequency new age played via sound-isolating headphones. The multi-sensory pairing suggested an enhanced sweetness in the fudge, but we let others enjoy it. We’re sweet enough already!

An Enormous Tower of Chocolate

Don’t make me run, I’m full of chocolate! Hotel Chocolat created an artistic 208 kilogram chocolate structure in the middle of their chocolate tasting sweets suite.

A Three Course Meal

London Coffee Festival continued its fine-eats coffee pairing with a three-course meal with the folks from Grind in London at the helm. Last year’s Scandivania Embassy experience was a tough act to follow, but Grind delivered some truly lovely coffee infused eats for fest guests.

A Plethora of Nut Butters

News Editor Zac Cadwalader was on the butter beat all weekend, sampling spreads from seeds, legumes, nuts, and coffee. We counted five butterists at the show. Butter is big. Butter is spreading.

An English Secret Garden Party

La Marzocco booked out a whole outdoor area, once left unoccupied in years past, and dedicated it to its 90th birthday with a cookout kick. A hallowed out Linea espresso machine cooked up meats and treats, with a foosball table and fully-stocked liquor bar nearby. “We wanted to have somewhere for people to get some food, some drinks, and enjoy the sunshine,” said La Marzocco UK & Ireland Marketing & Sales coordinator Dan Harvey. Mission accomplished!

Zachary Carlsen is a co-founder and editor at Sprudge Media Network. Read more Zachary Carlsen on Sprudge.

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