This was meant to have been uploaded a very long time ago, and to be honest: I have a good excuse. Want to hear it? Of course you do.
It wasn't a very good, or nice, review.
Yep, I complained in it a lot, and after revising over it I didn't feel comfortable with the things I was saying. So, I'm going to quickly address the negatives of the festival (in my honest opinion), bullet point style..I always feel super uncomfortable complaining about stuff, but I'm obviously not going to lie to you lovely people. Hopefully if anyone from the festival reads this, they'll take it constructively and not personally.
It was super crowded as per usual. Honestly, I think this has really started to take its toll after years of persevering with crowd levels, as I really couldn't spend much time with exhibitors because of it.
The Roasters Village made me a bit sad: I thought this would have been the most exciting part, but it really looked a bit dull and unfinished (not to mention it being shoved in the corner). I did stumble into the wonderful Koppi Roasters there, however, who if any of you have been following me for long enough know that I absolutely love them. The same lovely lady who I spoke to in Amsterdam was also manning the stall in London, so that was super lovely! She made me a wonderfully tasty espresso, but since I still hadn't plowed through the several bags I'd excitedly bought overseas I didn't pick up anything new.
I also became well acquainted with a Roasters called Butterworth & Sons (above), so the Roasters Village wasn't all that bad: but there was a lot of room for more up and coming Roasters to be situated there. I was really ready to delve deep into that part of the Festival and discover a whole range of new brands.
The tote bag was...well...really not great. They had pretty bad coffee samples, and two nespresso pod packs. I'm lucky enough to have a nespresso machine to sample various coffee pods which are sent to me, however I did hear a lot of complaints from friends and strangers alike.
Where the heck was the London Coffee Guide?!
(seriously, we usually get this free of charge in the goody bag and it wasn't there. Not to be a spoilt brat or anything, but that usually off-sets what tends to be a disappointing goody bag. I'm not being entitled or anything, once again - I heard many a comment whilst walking around the venue of people expressing their disappointment.
Now, we can focus on the gloriousness that is the London Coffee Festival, otherwise known as the beginning of the festival season for the coffee industry.
After visiting the Amsterdam Coffee Festival a couple of months back, it’s needless to say that I had very high standards for the sister festival to compete with. To be completely honest, as someone who has been visiting the LCF for several years now, I didn’t think that London’s would live up to the hype.
As much as I did enjoy the experience of the Amsterdam Coffee Festival, I loved the atmosphere and vibe of the LCF much more. At the London Coffee Festival, it seems that everyone who’s anyone in coffee comes together and celebrates the industry, which wasn’t the case in the other. The energy and vibe which came with the LCF was out of this world, and everywhere you turned were people fascinated by all things coffee. Ah, pure happiness.
*also I’d like to point out that there seemed to be a lack of pretentious coffee sippers this time round, even in the coffee masters, so this made me very happy indeed*
I was lucky enough to visit for two out of the four days: walking laps of the festival on both the Thursday and Friday industry days. The Friday saw me move away from the stalls and focus on the coffee masters, which was fitting since the morning had seen me work as a barista for what had been the first time in quite awhile (and which sparked a realisation of how much I missed it).
I found this year's Coffee Masters an absolute treat to watch (also nabbed front row seats - yes!), and the environment infectious. I managed to nab myself a front row seat, and saw all of those magicians (otherwise known as baristas) work their magic with their insane sensory levels and signature drinks. As someone who only recently got into the competitive side of the coffee industry (although I still highly doubt you’ll ever see me enter due to my anxious and introverted self), I’m definitely going to be trying to visit more of these championships as this year’s LCF’s coffee masters captivated me.
I have to give a shoutout especially to the glorious team that are Square Mile Coffee, who in my mind definitely had the best stall out there. Celebrating their 10th birthday in style (and by style I mean hosting their own version of a ten year olds birthday party - party bags and all), I definitely had the most fun there. The crowds were pretty heavy by the time I got there, but rightly so: alongside the bespoke PacMan arcade game and old-school ‘guess how many coffee beans are in the hopper’, James Hoffman himself was running a ‘guess the filter origin’ style game on a table. That’s where the huge crowds were, so I opted to chat to the marketing guy instead - who was dead lovely (I applauded him for such a good job) and was the giver of my goody bag.
Another shoutout has to be to the wonderfully lovely people behind Girls Who Grind Coffee. An absolutely amazing brand, Girls Who Grind are everything I love about females in business. Their coffee tastes super grand too, and I’m looking forward to getting to know the women more as time goes on (if i’ll be so lucky)!
Every year the London Coffee Festival gets bigger and better than the year before, but nothing shakes off the fact that the place is always super crowded. Unlike the other coffee festivals, I feel that the festival really has outgrown the Truman Brewery and a change in location may be best to revive what is a brilliant day out. If you’re part of the coffee industry I would highly recommend you trying your best to get industry day rather than weekend tickets, as the crowd levels are triple what I witnessed.
But heck, why am I complaining? The festival was grand - it always is. As an industry professional, it’s a great way to spot the upcoming year’s trends, with nitro cold brew and healthy alternative snacks and beverages being at the forefront of this. It’s not a week to miss out on, and provides plenty of laughs, fun, and an endless supply of amazing coffee - all under one roof.
How was your experience of the LCF? Hit me up and tell me your thoughts - I’d love to hear ‘em:
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(scroll down for a couple more photos...I seem to have taken a lot which I couldn't fit in