The kid-in-a-candy-store cliché holds true for coffee lovers attending the annual World of Coffee trade show, Europe’s largest, which took place this year June 23-25th in Dublin, Ireland. But an experience in itself is The Village, an enclave of booths representing some of the finest coffee shops, roasters, and producers on the planet. In Dublin last week there were so many quality quaffs to be had that a visitor wished she could be transformed from human being into sea sponge, with a bajillion pores to take in each and every coffee and no nervous system to avenge the consumption.
Here are five cups that were especially memorable—and totally worth the jitters.
The Golden Bean
Making its World of Coffee debut was The Golden Bean, a five-year-old micro-roastery operating out of Cork, Ireland. Its staple coffee Finca La Fany, a washed Bourbon from El Salvador with citrus and roasted nut flavors, produced an espresso with perhaps one of the most velvety mouth feels on the Isles that day. “It’s really important that when we do have coffees, we can buy them every year, and the quality is met every year. I think it’s also nice for our customers as well—they can kinda lock into flavors that they like,” said Blair Massie, in charge of training and sales for the small company showing that sometimes something gold can stay.
Berlin roaster The Barn, carried by specialty bars and cafes worldwide, attracted a steady stream of sippers with its washed Caturra variety coffee from Huila, Colombia. The Finca El Tablon, which is sourced by Nordic Approach, made for a light, sweet filter coffee with orange blossom and hazelnut flavors. “I love it,” said Javier Vásquez, the Bogota-based coach to Colombian WBC competitor Mauricio Romerow, who I chatted up whilst lingering at The Barn booth. “Among everyday Colombians, this [type of light roast] will not fly,” he noted, though acknowledged that coffee culture is evolving in his home country. “For me, this is very exciting.”
Double B Coffee & Tea
“Russia’s Intelligentsia” is what some call Double B Coffee & Tea, a fast expanding quality-focused cafe confederation with over 50 locations across Eurasia, plus a roaster in Moscow and one in Prague. A nice Nano Chala with hints of jasmine was one of several featured pour-overs, though barista Bogdan Prokopchuk could not help but push his own favorite: a very bright Colombian coffee from farmer Medardo Guarniz, with predominantly black tea and lemon flavors. There was a feast for the eyes too: Double B’s dare-to-be-different packaging, the bold black bags showing 3-D renditions of origin-country landscapes by artists Maxim Goudin and Illarion Gordon.
Third Wave Coffee Source
Nadine Rasch, a fourth-generation coffee producer, founded Third Wave Coffee Source to help spread the fruits of her family’s labor along with those of 65 other small producers in their native Guatemala. At her worry doll-decorated booth, Rasch called Guatemalan coffees “crowd pleasers,” and Los Sueños, a Bourbon and Caturra varietal from Huehuetenango, was no exception. José López is the farmer, a 23 year old who, like other urban-aspiring young Guatemalans, had hesitated to make a career out of coffee until he experienced the business first hand. Third Wave Coffee Source distributes to over 85 clients in Europe and recently expanded to New Zealand and Australia; for her part, Rausch is a regular on the global coffee expo circuit, and always a favorite festival sip & chat for Sprudge staff.
Climpson & Sons
The last of a lovely raspberry lemonade-like Gakayuini could be had at the booth of London-based roastery Climpson & Sons. These washed beans from Kirinyaga, Kenya, were delicious when served as espresso but even more so when prepared via filter. “Everyone’s been going crazy for Kenyans this year,” said Anthony Piper, Head of Quality at the company and a 2016 Brewers Cup competitor, in reference to the coffee’s scarcity. But he quickly allayed worries, promising that by July another Kenyan would be available. The new coffee is likely to be called Slopes of 8 (or its Swahili translation) after the same-named project of specialty merchant 32Cup, proudly describing the beans as the product of their “first farmer-level direct collaboration in Kenya.”
Karina Hof is a Sprudge staff writer based in Amsterdam. Read more Karina Hof on Sprudge.