London Coffee Week

There’s a reason why the Espresso Martini is one of our favourite cocktails – we simply love coffee!

And it isn’t just us. Dick Bradsell – creator of the much-loved cocktail – said that the Martini was a big hit with his creative partner-in-crime, a well-known young lady who walked into his bar in the late 1980s, asking for a drink that would “Wake me up, and then f**k me up.”

Who was that ‘well-known lady’, you ask? Well, although Dick hasn’t officially told anyone her identity, he did confirm in a widely-circulated video that it was none other than the supermodel, Kate Moss.

Great taste in fashion and drinks? No wonder we love you, Kate.

Sadly, we can’t 100% confirm that it was indeed Kate that was in Dick’s bar that fateful night (sorry!). What we can confirm, on the other hand, is that we know what it takes to make a bloody good coffee cocktail! And, in celebration of London Coffee Week, we’re going to clue you in as well…

First off, forget all that skinny caramel macchiato nonsense, at the end of the day what makes a great coffee cocktail is just that, great coffee – or as it’s commonly known, coffee liqueur.

Coffee liqueur is a serious business, and it has been for a very, very long time. It’s believed that the marriage of coffee and alcohol dates as far back as 800 A.D, when African tribes started fermenting coffee-berry pulp into, get this, coffee wine. Yeh, doesn’t sound too appetizing…but it’s a pretty good start!

It wasn’t until the mid 17th century that coffee began its much-needed journey from sludgy berry pulp to delicious distilled spirit as, around this time, the enterprising Dutch were beginning to commercialize that new-fangled art of distillation.

The story goes that the Dutch, who had amassed quite the empire at this time, were wondering what to do with all their spoiled bitter oranges imported from the West Indies? One solution was to add them to the alcohol they were distilling to camouflage the vile taste of rotgut…of course, now it just tasted vile AND bitter – so they decided to add another novelty that arrived with colonization, cane sugar. They then discovered that if they redistilled the rotgut alcohol a couple more times, the vile flavour disappeared – Voila, Orange Liqueur!

But it didn’t end there. After discovering this magical infusion, the Dutch decided to try out some of the other exciting, foreign ingredients that they were importing from their far-reaching empire – ingredients that included our favourite caffeinated friend, coffee!

It’s no exaggeration to state that the Dutch invented Liqueur. The Clever-clogs.

It didn’t take long for news of these tasty liqueurs to spread through Europe, and it did…quickly. England was bowled over with this marvel and, by the end of 17th century, the drinking of liqueurs had spread as far as Italy and France.

Of course, we’ve progressed a lot since the rotgut alcohol days of the 17th century (at least, we hope), and so have our coffee liqueurs. Today, we have a wide range of liqueurs to choose from with an exciting pool of alcohol bases – from vodka and rum, to gin and tequila.

Here are some of our absolute favourites that are certain to add that much-needed kick to your coffee creation:

– £29.95

Enough with the history, this is a modern coffee liqueur for the ‘cold-pressed’ crowd.

Mr Black uses the finest beans are sourced from Papua New Guinea, Ethiopia and Brazil and roasted to an exact specification to ensure the rich flavour and caramelisation. These beans are then cold-pressed to give a less acidic brew with a rounder mouthfeel. The final product is then combined with pure Australian Grain spirit to give this dark rich liqueur an amazing coffee flavour.

Hints of toffee and marmalade are also present with a fine citrus edge to finish. They haven’t just concentrated on the liqueur though. The bottle itself is literally a work of art. Australian artist Dale Bigeni illustrated a striking owl design for the Mr Black bottle. Beautiful and delicious.

– £21.95

In the small Welsh village of Abergwyngregyn, Aber Falls Distillery is the first Distillery in North Wales for more than a century. Making products that take inspiration from the area’s heritage and history, the bottle design features a Triquetra, also known as a trinity knot, inspired by Celtic symbology.

Aber Falls Coffee & Dark Chocolate, inspired by the iconic Espresso Martini, balances aromatic coffee with the bitter dark chocolate – creating a deliciously rich and velvety liqueur with a sweet finish.

A perfect liqueur for anyone looking to enhance their creations with indulgently smooth chocolate flavours – which is pretty much everyone, we think.

– £26.95

XO Cafe is one of the most recent additions to Patron’s range and has quickly grown in popularity.

Created by blending the Silver range with natural coffee essence, look out for the flavour of chocolate and vanilla and of course ground coffee.

Why not celebrate Cinco de Mayo with a Patron XO inspired Espresso Martini? It’ll certainly keep you dancing…

– £29.95

Pirate’s Grog Black Ei8ht Coffee Rum Liqueur is an incredibly smooth and unique spirit with a twist.

Made by blending Pirate’s Grog five-year-old Honduran rum with Brazilian cold-brew coffee, this is an elegantly balanced blend with notes of chocolate, caramel and a hint of toffee.

The rum liqueur was originally created for the perfect Espresso Rumtini, but tastes fantastic as a digestif, straight up over ice or as a coffee liqueur.

In the words of Miss Moss, hope these wake you up and…well, you know how the saying goes.


The post London Coffee Week appeared first on 31Discover.


London Coffee Festival 2018: Things to see, drink and do

Every year, caffeine pilgrims and decaf disciples throng to the London Coffee Festival in the capital’s East End. The Old Truman Brewery becomes a multi-tiered temple, where die-hard devotees and recent converts alike go to sample news and brews from the industry. The event showcases giants of the coffee world alongside smaller innovative startups, catering to producers, suppliers, baristas, cafe-owners and regular drinkers looking to open up their palates to the versatility of this magic bean.

Let’s face it, for many, the quotidian cup of joe just doesn’t cut it anymore. People are seeking out ethical, flavourful alternatives and the same sensory excitement and refinement that we usually associate with wine aficionados. So if you find yourself staring day after day into the abyss of the instant coffee, go the the festival and let the abyss stare back.

But this is not just a celebration of the brew and all it can offer (and boy, is there a lot). Machines, matcha, and mezcal are set to appeal to audiences looking for flavour, smell and smart products. Coffee is not just a drink here, it is part of a lifestyle of beautiful design and tasteful homeware. Your beverage has to sit in the right container, and your favourite roast ground in the finest bit of German machinery. Hi-tech highlights on this front include the Perfect Moose hands-free milk frother, and a flask that lets you hand-pump your perfect espresso on the go.

If java’s not your cup of tea, an exciting arena that’s really hotting up is the world of the turmeric latte. Several stalls are peppered round the venue making a case for this golden spice – noted for its unique flavour and anti-inflammatory properties. There’s stiff competition on the festival floor to make the remarkable root into an essential part of the modern pantry, and you can’t help but be won over.

Coffee nerds will be pleased to see plenty of science and education on show, too – from precision roasters replete with numbers and graphs to educational offerings from the likes of the London School of Coffee. If you didn’t come in wanting to learn about what goes into your americano, the tastes, textures, aromas and terroir on offer will leave you with a thirst for knowledge. Without a doubt, the best blend on scene was the surprising Rwandan red bourbon roast served up by Mission Coffee Works – a herbal, almost grassy finish standing out against warm, nutty low notes.

You can spend all day tasting, sure, but once in a while it’s good to take a moment to sit down and enjoy a demonstration at The Lab, or watch some nifty latte art being done by expert baristas. Be sure to settle into some relaxation with a refined cup of something a little stronger than coffee – perhaps a smoky cocktail from Longflint, or a sexy liqueur from Mr Black.

The London Coffee Festival ticks all the boxes for a full-day event; there is so much to see and do, and if you ever get tired, you’re never more than a foot away from a pick-me-up. You are guaranteed to leave buzzing, enlightened, and excited to wake up to a hot drink in the morning.    

Daniel Amir
Photos: Mathew Pull

The London Coffee Festival is at the Old Truman Brewery from 12th until 15th April. For further information or to book tickets visit .

London Coffee Festival hosts paper cup recycling panel

The London Coffee Festival hosted ‘Paper cup recycling and the circular economy’, which explored how the UK can recycle more paper cups by engaging all of the players in the supply chain to work towards a circular economy solution.

Panelists featured Paul Synnott, managing director at Seda UK, Peter Goodwin, co-founder of Simply Cups, and Packaging News’ Waqas Qureshi.

Synnott stressed that the industry is taking initiatives and has invested in recycling – bringing capacity to recycle up to the 2.5bn cups per year that are used by UK consumers – and pointed out the cups needed a route to get to the recycling centres.

Goodwin said the consumers want to do the right thing and dispose of their coffee cups in a ‘green bin’, and also stressed the importance of finding solutions with waste disposal companies that collect from green bins.


Qureshi emphasised that the issue will require various actors to contribute to the solution – from cup manufacturers that could adopt or develop new technologies that make cups more easier to recycle; and local authorities and central government to invest in infrastructure; waste disposers who need to provide an improved service that separates cups from other waste more effectively; and consumer habits such as littering.

Additionally, Simply Cups, which was recycling all the cups at the London Coffee Festival, launched what it said was the worlds first re-usable cup made from used cups.

Every rCUP is made from six used cups, and Goodwin said that if just one in 10 coffee drinkers switched from throwaway cups to the rCUP, 50 million used cups would be recycled a year.

Five things not to miss at The London Coffee Festival

Coffees lovers in London can rejoice as an entire festival dedicated to the good stuff is coming up next weekend.

The London Coffee Festival is returning for its eight year from April 12 to 15 at The Old Truman Brewery in Brick Lane.

Start-ups, industry pioneers, and long-established companies will be attending, as well as DJs and musicians to provide a soundtrack for the festival.

There will be speciality tastings, industry talks, artisan workshops and showcases from world-class baristas.

Returning for the fourth time is Coffee Masters, a competition during which the UK’s top 20 baristas will go head-to-head for the title of Coffee Master and a cheque for £5,000

If visitors are interested in opening their own café, Thursday and Friday are dedicated industry days and will cover all aspects of trade, from the latest equipment innovations to the best new products.

Five things not to miss:

• The Espresso Martini Party on Friday

• Coffee Masters competition

• Roastery by Union Hand-Roasted- the small-batch roaster will be live-roasting beans throughout the weekend, discussing the process with onlookers

• Latte Art Live- watch specialists and learn how to pour the perfect glossy rosetta with throw-downs, workshops and showcases (expect lots of free coffee)

• Book into any of the industry speakers- guaranteed to inspire aspiring café owners

Jeffrey Young, founder of The London Coffee Festival, says: “After nearly a decade of growth in the London specialty coffee scene, it is exciting to see the continued flurry of innovation and, of course, so many new artisan coffee shop openings throughout London and the rest 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 London Coffee Festival attracts thousands of trade visitors and ‘coffee tourists’ from all over the world.”

The London Festival kicks off UK Coffee Week.

Both the festival and UK Coffee Week support Project Waterfall, a charity initiative where 100 per cent of proceeds go towards providing clean drinking water and sanitation to the world’s coffee growing communities.

Last year, more than £100,000 was raised at The London Coffee Festival.

Early bird tickets are available online now from £14.50 for adults and £4.50 for children.

On the door, prices start from £22.50 for adults and £5.50 for children.

Thursday and Friday sessions are reserved for trade only.

On Saturday and Sunday, there are brunch, lunch, teatime and VIP full day sessions.

To buy tickets visit


Get A Buzz On At The London Coffee Festival

Phil Clarke by Phil Clarke | Posted on 6th March 2018

Get A Buzz On At The London Coffee Festival

An event to really get you buzzing, the London Coffee Festival is frothing its steady way towards us, so grab a mug and meet us at Brick Lane’s Old Truman Brewery.

Now in its eighth year, this celebration of caffeinated goodness is Europe’s largest gathering of coffee aficionados and 0218 promises to be the largest get together yet with over 35,000 guests enjoying the beany wares of over 250 exhibitors poured over four floors.

Not only will all the perpetually wired visitors (coz freebies) be able to stroll around checking out the wares, there will also be live music from DJs and musicians, speciality tastings, artisan workshops and showcases from world-class baristas. There will even be Late Art Live, an event bringing together the world’s top latte art specialists (yes, that is a thing).

And in the evening, loosen up and dance the night away at The Espresso Martini Party, the festival’s annual Friday night party. Also in attendance will be the Flat White Martini and Baileys and Sandows Cold Brew.

If you’re into cofffee, then this event will keep you up in anticipation for days until it arrives, then up with the coffee shakes for days afterwards.

The London Coffee Festival runs from Friday 13th to Sunday 15th April.

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