‘Coffee, cocktails, music and good times’
A little way down Brick lane, underneath the decorative arches and through the maze of East London’s groovy graffitied walls, you can find The Old Truman Brewery. The building is a spectacle in itself, with its industrial brick exterior and towering chimney, and was once London’s largest beer manufacturer. However for one weekend only, it plays host to more than 30,000 people from across the UK and Europe, all coming together for one shared passion; coffee.
These days there seems to be a festival for everything, with hundreds of food and drink festivals taking place right here in London. Giddy for gin? bonkers for brunch? Vegan food more your thing? whatever your craze is, you are bound to find something that takes your fancy.
Mine happens to be coffee, it’s a big part of my life! not only have I worked in a cafe for four years, But I also LOVE the stuff. My body runs on the bittersweet fuel that comes from a burning hot cup of coffee. So as you can imagine, when I heard that there was even such a thing as a coffee festival, better yet that it was going to be taking place right on my doorstep, I was pretty excited.
This unique festival has been running for nine years, and offers, what the team call, ‘an unparalleled playground for coffee aficionados.’ We bought our tickets online for £15 each, for those more spontaneous, you could choose to pay upfront on the day, but the tickets were a bit pricier.
On entry we were handed a limited edition tote bag filled with various bits of information about what the day would entail. At first glance the venue appeared to be just one large room with various stalls, with a seating area in the centre, bustling with people as they gathered round to enjoy the love music performances happening on the stage. However we soon identified that the TARDIS-like venue stretched on for miles and there were in fact four huge floors of coffee shenanigans for us to enjoy.
Exhibitors and sponsors lined the walls, in front of them tables spilling with freebies and samples. Coffee was obviously the star of the show, however there were plenty of non- coffee treats too, including cakes, biscuits, energy drinks, and lots and lots of tea. Some of the stalls were being pretty stingy with their samples, whereas other were practically throwing things at you.
We knocked back shots of coffee, as artisanal roasters explained their origins and what made them unique. For those proper connoisseurs, there was also a blind tasting room with a lesson on how to detect the different notes and flavours of coffee. And on the Upper ground things got a bit more interactive at latte art live, where the audience’s barista skills were put to the test.
I was really impressed with how they made the expereince really inclusive to everybody, being a dairy dodger myself, and having a decaf drinking mum and a gluten intolerant older brother. There was still loads for us to try, and we fell in love with the gluten free coconut passion cake from Cakesmiths.
Needless to say, after all those samples we left on a crazy caffeine and sugar high!
I loved that there was no cookie cutter mould for what the Coffee Festival’s visitors looked like; everyone from professional baristas and coffee companies to families and young couples were there.
The London Coffee Festival will be back again next year, and regardless of you’re a coffee maestro or a complete novice I’d highly recommend it!