Calling all coffee lovers, the annual London Coffee Festival (LCF) has returned and will be on until Sunday 15th April.
Despite many of the UK’s high street stores closing, the coffee shop industry is booming. So, it is no surprise that LCF expects to see over 35,000 guests over the four-day period.
Business Advice reporter Carly Hacon checked out day one of the festivities and met up with some of the UK’s best coffee connoisseurs at the Old Truman Brewery in Brick Lane, East London.
Festival highlights include the Latte Art Live workshops where you can learn how to craft your own milky masterpiece, barista workshops and the Espresso Martini Party. And, LOTS of free coffee.
In an interview the founder of LCF, Jeffrey Young, comments: “It is exciting to see the continued flurry of innovation and, of course, so many new artisan coffee shop openings throughout London and the result of the UK each year.”
“London is now recognised as a true centre of excellence for the high quality, craft coffee industry and why the festival attracts thousands of trade visitors and coffee tourists from all over the world”.
It’s not just about a cup of coffee – it’s about its creative subculture and supporting independent businesses.
The festival features over 250 artisan coffee and gourmet food stalls, tastings and demonstrations from world-class baristas, interactive workshops, street food, coffee-based cocktails, live music comprehensive ‘lab’ seminar programme that will educate even the deepest of coffee fans.
Flat Brew founder, Nicholas Basden, debuted his business specialising in coffee spread at LCF 2017.
Since then Basden has supplied his espresso spread to Selfridges, Fortnum and Mason and Harvey Nichols.
Basden said: “We’re back this year with our new flavour caramel macchiato. We’re looking forward to introducing the new flavour to people who saw us before. We have already seen a lot of customers from last year.
“We’re looking forward to seeing a lot of new independent retailers, we want to see a lot of people with independent chains.”
Another independent business featured there is Soho-based, “nitro coffee” specialist, New North. Founder of New North, Christopher Beach, was excited to meet the thousands of coffee fanatics.
“The best part of the festival is meeting everyone, it is only the first day but I have met so many inspiring people.
“I have had guys who you could argue are my competitors speaking to me, but you realise everyone is in it together. Everyone has the same daily struggles. It is better if you work together rather than trying to do it on your own.”
Now in its eighth year, The London Coffee Festival is supposedly Europe’s largest gather of coffee admirers. The organisers have said it is to be bigger than ever as for the first time the festival takes over four floors to accommodate British coffee enthusiasts.
LCF kicks off UK Coffee Week, founded to give back to the communities that make our love for coffee possible.
Both the festival and UK Coffee Week support Project Waterfall, a charity where all proceeds go towards providing clean water and sanitation to the world’s coffee-growing communities.
Tickets are available online from £14.50 for adult and £4.50 for children. On the door, prices start from£22.50 for adults and £5.50 for children.
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