Next week sees the return of The London Coffee Festival, the UK’s biggest celebration of our much-loved caffeine fix. Brick Lane’s The Old Truman Brewery will host the festival again this year, swapping beer for another kind of brew for four days from 3-6 April. After a day and a half of trade sessions, the festival opens to the public from 5pm on Friday.
The True Artisan Café is the show’s pride and joy, where many of London and the UK’s best independent cafés come together under one roof and do what they do best: serve coffee. At least four great coffee offers will be available at all times to compare, contrast and get a bit high off, while there'll also be Q&As, demos and tastings galore. Just a few of the London coffee shops and roasters who'll be present are Allpress, Caravan, Shoreditch Grind, Taylor St. Baristas and Workshop.
There’s also the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of coffee with scientific workshops, while insightful talks in The Lab include coffee and chocolate matching sessions and ideas on how to use coffee as an ingredient in your cooking. Watch a coffee machine be assembled live, or access in-depth talks on how decaffeination works. A more practical visit to the Make Decent Coffee Lounge will give expert guidance on how to make great cuppas at home. If you’re anything like us, you might make your ticket money back on money you save on daily coffee-to-go purchases.
Elsewhere, Down Under coffee shop St. Ali serves up an Aussie-style brunch, live music features styles and bands from key coffee-producing countries, and expect dedicated cocktail and craft beer bars for when the caffeine gets too much. Oh, and a barbers — just in case you have a sudden urge for a trim.
Tickets start from £11.50 a session when bought in advance, or £14.50 on the door. Note that the days are (rather annoyingly) split into a number of separately ticketed three hour sessions, so check that you can make it before you buy. 50% of the ticket price goes towards charities who help provide clean water in coffee-producing countries.
The London Coffee Festival welcomes in UK Coffee Week, which runs from 7-13 April. We’ll be celebrating the occasion by compiling a list of our very favourite independent coffee shops in London, and though we already have plenty of venues in mind, we’d love to know your favourites. Tell us your top coffee spots in the comments below and we’ll consider them for inclusion in the list.