April 3rd through 6th, the London Coffee Festival descends on The Old Truman Brewery for a weekend of coffee events, education, and bacchanalia. Just about every possible facet of coffee is represented at the event, with two days of heavy industry programming followed by two more days of more consumer focused expositions, all anchored by the Specialty Coffee Association of Europe UK Chapter‘s 2014 coffee competitions, including the Latte Art Competition, Coffee in Good Spirits, Cup Tasters, Brewers Cup, and of course the 2014 UK Barista Championship.
This year, and for the first time ever, Sprudge.com will be covering a non-US national barista championship, bringing our signature live-coverage to the UKBC as official media partners. Competition fans can follow the action by following us @SprudgeLive on Twitter, and by staying tuned to these pages, where we'll be publishing in-depth recaps and photos of every competitor throughout the weekend. Sprudge.com's coverage of the 2014 UKBC is made possible by Cafe Imports and BUNN, and the entirety of our 2014 global competition coverage is underwritten by our friends and partners at Nuova Simonelli.
The London Coffee Festival, put on by the folks at Allegra Strategies, describes itself as a “hybrid event” that aims to bring a greater exposure to the wide world of quality coffee for consumers and trademembers of all levels. The event will feature “demonstrations from world-class baristas, interactive workshops, street food, coffee-based cocktails, live music, DJs, art exhibitions and much more.” There will be a number of new products on display at the event, including the glass KeepCup Brew and the Victoria Arduino 388 Black Eagle espresso machine. The Black Eagle will also be given a grand coming out party the evening of April 3rd at Prufrock Coffee (23-25 Leather Lane), and hosted by 2007 World Barista Champion James Hoffmann.
As you might expect, there will be coffee a-plenty to drink at the London Coffee Festival, whether it's from the eight different UK roasters rotating through La Marzocco‘s “True Artisan Cafe,” Union Hand-Roasted Coffee‘s rotating origin themed espresso and brew bar, or the “bespoke coffee cocktail menu” from “bartending collective The Liquorists” and Nude Espresso at the Kahlúa Coffee House.
This is the first year that the LCF has featured trade-only days, and they've packed them full of content that runs the gamut of current trends in the industry. They've dubbed their free educational track “The Lab,” and it will feature courses on everything from espresso science, to milk chemistry, to Coffee Refraction 101 (taught by Australian Barista Champ Matt Perger and Australian Brewers' Cup champ Lachlan Ward), to water testing and filtration, to the importance of understanding mobile advertising for retail businesses.
Green coffee importer DRWakefield will also be hosting a “series of green coffee masterclasses” on processing, sustainable production, decaffeination, lot traceability and using coffee as a tool to empower women. And of course, it wouldn't be a coffee event without the chance to pour a lot of milk into cups, which you can do at the Cravendale M.I.L.K Battle, where baristas will pour latte-art head-to-head, competing for a trip to a coffee producing country.
Registration for these ‘Industry Days' (April 3rd & 4th) is free. Simply enter code TRDLCF at the London Coffee Festival registration page.
London Coffee Festival stands out from other major coffee gatherings for its attempt in bringing a wider cultural world to the show. They've teamed with Hackney GT to bring music from “Brazil, Colombia, and Africa” to the LCF main stage, and there will also be DJs spinning at La Marzocco's coffee bar. Old-school Viennese coffee brand Julius Meinl will host a “Poetry Café” as part of Allegra's Coffee Art Project. There is also the “Milk and Sugar” food, fashion and design showcase featuring the “ultimate Aussie brunch experience” from St. Ali, cuts and shaves from Pall Mall Barbers, cocktails by Wonder Bar, and a craft beer bar from Brewers & Union.
General admission tickets are £11.50 online, £14.50 at the door, with 50% of sales going to Allegra's Project Waterfall, “a charity that delivers clean water projects to coffee-producing countries in Africa.”
Images via London Coffee Festival and KeepCup.