London Coffee Festival: the Prelude.

Oh, how time flies. It’s nearly that time of year again…the coffee aficionados descend on London for Allegra’s annual London Coffee Festival. It takes place from the 12th – 15th April. We will be there and posting stories from our Instagram account, but, as you may well be planning your visit already, we thought we’d give you a run-down of what we are most looking forward to.

The two main events will be the Coffee Master’s final and the SCA’s UK Barista Championship semi-finals and finals.

The Coffee Masters, owned by Allegra, tests a barista’s ability in a plethora of areas, such as: cupping, brewing, latte art, and even an origin test, which works a little like pin the tail on the donkey. They taste the coffee blind and then pin, on a world map, where they think the coffee originates from. The Coffee Masters take place throughout the festival.

The UKBC finals are the end of a number of busy, and hotly contested, regional finals; the semi-finals cut the competition down to six who will compete on the final day of the festival to be crowned the UK Barista Champion. To get the most updated news on the UKBCs, you’re best off following the SCAE UK Chapter on twitter.

As well as these two coffee competitions, there is also the UK Brewer’s Cup, which filters (how many times have you heard that one?) the best brewers down until they’ve crowned the UK Champion.  

It’s not all about competition though, there’s lots to see and do at the festival:

There’s an espresso martini party on the Friday night (you need to book tickets).

Latte Art Live takes place throughout the whole festival and contains workshops where you can learn about how to pour the best latte art, including for those of you who favour dairy-free milk. There will be latte art experts from all over the world, including UK Latte Art Champion Dhan Tamang (he’s been No.1 since 2013!).

In the La Marzocco Kitchen, for £5 (all of which goes to charity Project Waterfall), budding baristas will be able to take part in the Home Barista Workshop. You’ll learn how to pull the perfect espresso on a Linea Mini.

An area of the festival called The Factory enables you to learn more about the process involved before your coffee is made. There will be cupping with green coffee experts, and roasting demonstrations, too.

For industry folk, or those truly obsessed with coffee, The Lab will provide an educational haven where you can learn about lots of different coffee minutiae, such as: Water for Coffee and The Chemistry of Coffee (by Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood), Latest Grindings from Mahlkönig, Upcycled Coffee Cocktails, home coffee roasting, From Farm to Your Cup, and many, many more.

There really is too much to mention but these are just a collection of our favourites. For a full listing of events, we’d recommend taking a look at the official schedule.

Image credit: James Bryant.

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