London Coffee Festival 2013

London Coffee Festival
{The Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane}

It’s my second time being on this festival. The previous time was in 2011 when Robert Henry participated in breaking the Guinness World Record for most espresso shots made in 1 hour.

I love coffee. It’s no secret, but I don’t know much about it and I’m definitely far from being a geek. As I said to my friend Caroline, it’s like me taking her to a Web Seminar about new web technologies, trends in the SEO and online marketing. I’d be completely fascinated and will listen to all the lectures, while she and Robert will be thinking “Is that interesting? At all?!”.

Anyway, as a good supporter and a big fan of the nice coffee, I couldn’t miss it this time. Especially, when my man was presenting together with Lindt how to pair coffee and chocolate.

He’s definitely an expert in what he does, but it seems that I’m doing some good work with his web presence and online marketing. I’m pleased with the website visits – regular and new ones, which he’s getting each month and how easy his website is to find in so many topics and key words. Anyway… got distracted with my professional obsession.

The first day of the Coffee Festival was for trade, while on the second and third days it was open to the public. I went there on Saturday and was shocked to see the huge queue that was outside. You could see people waiting to get in, along the whole Truman building and taking over the street. I even saw on Instagram people sharing pictures of the queue. Amazing how popular the good coffee is getting in London and how people are happy to spend a weekend afternoon indoors and enjoy the company of baristas watching them competing and making good show.

As usual, I was running a bit late so I missed the beginning of the Lindt workshop. Once I got in, I found them pretty easy. I went straight to the labs where there were 2 crowds. On one side people were making noise chatting, on the other side everyone stood there quietly – obviously something very interesting was in front of their eyes. I sneaked and as I expected there were the Lindt Master Chocolatier and Robert Henry explaining how to bite first from the chocolate piece and then to have a sip from the coffee. A few girls walking between the people with a tray were offering a piece of chocolate or a paper cup of the type of coffee that were being presented at that particular moment.

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I knew the paired chocolate – coffee combinations already, but I enjoyed watching people’s reactions while tasting. I was part of the first tasting at home, before the Expert Barista met the Chocolatier and confirmed and tasted again. I’m proud to say that I discovered one of the combinations which went on the Lindt brochures and it remained my most favourite – Salted Caramel Dark Excellence Chocolate and Indian Bibi Single Blend Coffee.

You can also have a look at the best paired combinations and try for yourself – Lindt has made their website dedicated specifically to the Coffee & Chocolate Pairing.

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When the workshop finished, there was a queue of people around the two experts, asking them a question after question. It took me a while to get to them. They both looked so pleased with their work – each one’s passion that has turned into a profession!

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This was the last workshop, so Robert took me for a walk around the festival – to see a few curious coffee competitions and events, to listen to DJs playing live in one of the rooms while baristas knocking out espresso shots, and to meet some barista friends and other coffee professionals. By that time my friend Caroline arrived as well, so we both made a few more circles around the building.

I particularly liked the corner occupied by the Coffee Art Project – showing a few pieces of art related to the coffee industry. It was nice to see what artists think of coffee and how they present it. Some of my favourite pieces:

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The last one is my absolutely favourite. Made out of recycled packages and paper, it shows how the drink we all enjoy and take for granted, actually has a major impact in someone else’s life being their family business and providing them the opportunity to work and live for the coffee.

It was a well spent Saturday and I’m happy I went to see the festival. I had some more sweetness and tried 2 new Lindt Excellence chocolates. Luckily, I did my workout in the morning, so I didn’t feel too guilty.