Browsing the stands at events like the World of Coffee expo can be pretty intimidating. There’s so much choice, and even with four days to explore everything, you may still miss a few things—especially because it isn’t always necessarily the largest, brightest stands that have the coolest things happening. During breaks from our exhaustive coverage of the 2016 World Barista Championship and World Brewers Cup, Sprudge sent me out on the floor to investigate the dopest of the dope things happening at Europe's biggest coffee expo. Here's what I saw and truly dug.
Square Mile Coffee Roasters
After the veritable coffee wonderland they put on at the 2016 London Coffee Festival, Square Mile Coffee Roasters had a hard act to follow. However, in Dublin they showed that they can still do innovative things with a much smaller space. Their ‘Brew and Blend’ concept, based around three coffees (Kenya Kagumoini PB, Colombia Belén, and Ethiopia Wegida), required visitors to the stand to answer three questions: would you rather Haribo or chocolate and caramel for a sweet treat; berries or citrus for a fruit snack; and ice cream or sorbet on a hot summer’s day?
Each person’s preferences would yield a blended brew of two or three of the coffees meant to highlight both the differences present in each separate coffee and the harmonies they made in a blend. For example, my blend of 60% Wegida and 40% Kagumoini PB highlighted the juiciness present in both coffees. Paired with a taster of straight Kagumoini PB, the peachiness of the Wegida was brought out in the blend.
Doing this much thought-provoking tastiness with such little space? Totally dope.
Despite (or perhaps because of) being founded in 1927, La Marzocco is one of the most well-known progressive coffee brands in the world. But their stand at WOC Dublin this year offered a new twist on LM culture—more than just espresso machines, they're becoming a lifestyle brand as well. Yes, there were an armada of Linea Minis on display, plus an exhibition from ModBar, but it was LM's swag shop that caught my eye in Dublin.
Taking pride of place were red and white Varsity jackets, looking like something straight out of Friday Night Lights. Propped against the wall was a blue, yellow, and red surfboard, made in Rome and emblazoned with a stylised La Marzocco emblem; sitting on the countertop was an LM branded skateboard, with a customized wood-burn illustration on the bottom. Since many coffee brands have ties with the cycling community, and some have ties with skating or surfing, it’s interesting to see La Marzocco reaching out to all three. Skating down to your shift at the cafe in your varsity jacket and pulling some spros on the Strada? Dope as, bro.
Cloud Picker Coffee
Repping Dublin’s coffee scene at WOC was this humble little pop-up by Cloud Picker Coffee, posted out in the yard between halls in the cutest of campers. Packed inside the little trailer I found delights galore: espresso shots brewed on a Sanremo Opera, coffee-flavoured marshmallows, a disco ball, and a sensory-slash-art installation puffing out wisps of raspberry-scented clouds. The reason for this spectacle in miniature was a poignant question: how did you get into coffee? They came up with four possible answers, and said everyone who had come by the stand felt they fit into one of the categories: aroma, childhood memory, a memorable cup, or chance.
“Chance” was, of course, happening by the little coffee camper as many curious people did on the way in to the expo. “Childhood memories” were represented by the marshmallows, light brown and marbled with darker espresso-colored swirls. The whimsical scented clouds, of course represented, “aroma”. And lastly, they offered their own memorable cup of coffee from the KvdW for anyone who wandered in for a chat. Nostalgia is dope AF right now and this place offered heaps of it—an unexpected homegrown highlight of my showfloor cruising at World Of Coffee Dublin.