London Coffee Festival 2016
A trip worth taking (for research purposes of course!)…
After an early start on the train to London, we were certainly in need of caffeine-based refreshments and the London Coffee Festival was no disappointment. With two floors and over 250 coffee based stalls, the festival is a coffee lovers paradise. From the latest espresso machines to the best coffee roasters in the UK, everything that’s anything in the world of coffee was on display.
As well as indulging our own coffee passions and learning how coffee is roasted, we also had two key objectives… One, finding the finest coffee in the UK to introduce as a monthly ‘guest’ blend and two, sourcing an alternative decaf coffee. Needless to say the choice on offer was overwhelming and we took our task very seriously. I even managed to make myself ill by trying every coffee twice, once with milk and once as an espresso, to ensure we covered all bases. A choice I certainly regretted as I lay wide awake at 3.00am!
So onto the coffee… We were impressed with a large number of the roasters at the show – some already known to us and some new ones. As you may already know, we currently use Manaresi beans, roasted in Florence, Italy, for our house coffees. This is a traditional Italian roast, which is quite strong, so our first aim was to look for a lighter roast for the guest blend. Secondly, we wanted to find suppliers that source their own beans, are environmentally conscious and pay a fair price to local farmers. Thirdly and perhaps most importantly, we wanted to find a coffee that tastes amazing both as an espresso and mixed with milk.
After speaking to the baristas, the owners, and tasting the coffee, we gradually narrowed down to what we think are the best. Our favourite roasters are listed below and we hope that you’ll enjoy these new coffees as much as we do when we introduce them as ‘guests’.
Workshop Coffee – Our choice for both our new decaffeinated coffee and also as a guest blend. We were very impressed with their passion for coffee, the unique decaffeination process (the beans are locally processed to avoid additional shipping) and most of all the great flavours of their lighter roasted beans.
Ozone Coffee Roasters – All in all, this was probably our favourite tasting coffee of the day, and we were extremely impressed by the passion and knowledge of the owners. They are a roaster that shares our commitment to sustainable, ethical business practises in the way in which they source their amazing beans. Based in Shoreditch, we’d definitely recommend you stop off the next time you are in London.
Union Hand-Roasted Coffee – Probably the most consistent and established coffee we tasted at the show. Union was setup by two scientists who use the ‘Union Direct Trade Model’ to source all of their beans, ensuring that farmers are paid a fair amount. The beans are then hand-roasted in small batches in East London and the result is a delicious cup of coffee with a great variety of flavours.
Square Mile Coffee Roasters – An old favourite of all our baristas. Square Mile has supplied the beans for numerous world barista champions and are determined to make London a centre of coffee excellence.