Potato milk, home foam devices, coffee bean selection, and a collapsible coffee cup–this is just a sampling of the trends on display at the London Coffee Festival. From March 31 through April 3, revelers took part in the 11th edition of the “biggest coffee party on earth” following September’s downsized event. The festival returned to form, showcasing 250 artisan coffee and gourmet food stalls, tastings, and demonstrations from respected industry professionals. Held at the Truman Brewery in Shoreditch, the London Coffee Festival poured forth flair and innovation that aptly mirrored the panache for which the neighborhood is known.
Foam enthusiasts explored professional frothers and non-dairy milk sourced from oat, almond, soy, and pea milk featured prominently, from well-known brands like Alpro to emerging new start-ups. Minor Figures was voted the Best Plant Based Alt-Milk at the 2022 UK Coffee Awards and DUG Drinks introduced a new plant-based potato beverage. Packing a plush creaminess perfect for whipping up a fluffy froth, DUG’s potato beverage was named runner-up for the Most Innovative Product award.
This year’s festival emphasized sustainability, featuring an array of reusable products and a dedicated award. Sustainability factors into every step of the coffee supply chain, from ethical agricultural practices to recyclable packaging to composting the grounds to consuming it in the most waste-free manner possible. But it’s not just environmental; the social component concerns fair wages for the workers.
Wrapping up the festival, the UK Coffee Awards announced the winner of the most anticipated prize–Change Please took to the podium to accept the award for Most Ethical Initiative of the year: giving 100% of their profits to London’s homeless community. Redemption Roasters, the world’s first prison-based coffee roastery, came in second. As a whole, the festival discouraged disposable cups: attendees with reusable cups in tote got to sip their way through an International Sustainable Coffee Flight. They then submitted their completed “passports”, which got stamped at each “destination”, for the chance to win private home brewing lessons
Cascao’s Edible Coffee Bar offered coffee lovers an alternative way to get caffeinated. It’s made from the entire coffee cherry, including the pulp, a discarded by-product of coffeemaking that constitutes over 45% of the fruit.. Similarly, London specialty coffee shop Watch Houses collaborated with Bare Bones Chocolate, a Glasgow-based micro-batch, bean-to-bar chocolate company, to create their first single-origin chocolate bar.
The festival’s rich latte-art line-up suited both professionals and amateurs alike, from a Precision Pours workshop on stacking the perfect winged tulip to a session dedicated to the land and sea with Lily Jones. The celebrated barista demonstrated how to replicate her signature mammals and aquatic specialties. Those looking to polish their social media feeds signed up for the Instagrammable Latte seminar with coffee content creator @coffeeartistul. During the “Latte Art Lates” festival closer, spectators cheered on artistic latte makers–lattes created within the final 15 minutes earned donations to CoppaFeel!, the festival’s chosen breast cancer awareness charity.
“Thanks” to the pandemic, home coffee appliances have evolved into a veritable trend, and domestic extraction and consumption garnered much attention. The festival recognized the best all-round home coffee machine with a special product award, and De’Longhi’s La Specialista Arte machine made this year’s shortlist! Equipped with a premium home barista kit, the My LatteArt system, active temperature control, and an eight-setting grinder, the compact gadget lets coffee lovers prepare a cup with professional-style precision at home.
The De’Longhi Coffee Lounge in the Hyde Park area comprised a space three times larger than in previous year. Visitors took a seat at the bar to craft coffee-based cocktails–or a mocktail counterpart–under the guidance of professional mixologists. Coffee bean selection took precedence at this year’s festival, and a digital exercise assisted attendees in determining the beans best suited to their tastes. The questionnaire pertained to drink style, flavor, aroma, and consistency preferences, then customized a selection of specialty, single-origin, and blended options for brewing their own coffee drinks. To bring the festival vibe, home.
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