Time well wasted
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.
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 .
Four men have been arrested after a car knocked pedestrians over “like dominoes” in a busy area of North London.
Three people were hospitalised after they were hit by the vehicle on Essex Road, Islington, late on Saturday night. Their injuries are not thought to be life-threatening.
Two knives were also found in the car and nearby, police said.
The victims were lining up to go into the Old Queen’s Head pub when the car came along at speed.
A witness who was in the queue told the Mail Online: “The car came screeching round the corner at about 50mph and was coming straight for me.
“I pushed over the barriers and fell to the floor as the car smashed into three people in front of me. They were knocked over like dominoes.
“Everyone was screaming as the driver then drove off.”
Police said the car’s occupants fled the scene on foot.
The witness added: “It definitely looked deliberate and we all thought it was a terror attack.”
The pub’s bouncers let everyone back inside, she said, and the emergency services arrived shortly after.
A police spokesman said: “Four males, aged between 17 and 19, have since been arrested on suspicion of a variety of offences including GBH with intent and possession of points and blades. All four remain in custody.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact Islington Police on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
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.
A police officer has been stabbed in his leg as he wrestled with a suspect after a robbery in south London.
Police were called shortly before 7pm to reports of a knife-point robbery close to St James Road, in Sutton.
Officers found the victim and later identified a suspect who fled on foot.
The man was caught by officers and as they tried to arrest him outside a pub on the High Street, a policeman was stabbed in his leg.
His injuries are not thought to be life-threatening.
The man was arrested on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm and robbery.
He has been taken to a south-west London police station where he remains in custody.
The victim of the robbery was also taken to hospital with minor injuries. He was not stabbed.
Chief Superintendent Robyn Williams, Borough commander for Sutton, said: ‘Thankfully, incidents of this nature are rare.
‘However, they highlight the risks officers face on a daily basis whilst carrying out their duties.
‘Officers regularly run towards danger in order to protect the public; for one to be assaulted in such a way is totally unacceptable, and it is only by luck that his injuries were not more serious.
‘Our thoughts are with the officer, his family and colleagues.’
Anyone who witnessed either the robbery or the stabbing and is yet to speak with officers is asked to contact police via 101. They can also call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
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A Polish man who accidentally left his Christmas bonus in a London pub has been reunited with the cash following a social media campaign to track him down.
When a member of staff at the Alexandra pub in Wimbledon, south-west London, discovered a brown envelope containing hundreds of pounds beneath a chair last Thursday, managers Sarah and Mick Dore launched an online appeal in hopes of returning the money to its rightful owner.
The only information the couple had to go on was the name “Mariusz” scribbled on the envelope.
Posting a photo to Facebook with the name concealed, the managers wrote “If this person can tell me which bar it was in, what the name on the front is and how much cash [is] in there…they can come and get it.”
The Dores announced on Wednesday that after millions of people from as far afield as Australia, New Zealand and the Philippines viewed and shared the message via Facebook and Twitter, the £600 pay packet was returned to the correct Mariusz.
“In probably the most understated and anti-climatic end to a saga in history, Mariusz walked into our sports bar and said ‘I’m Mariusz and I think you’ve got my money’,” the Dores said.
Mariusz, who returned home for Christmas and does not use social media, said he was alerted to the campaign by his son.
He was able to confirm which chair he’d sat on and the amount contained in the envelope “to the penny”.
“It is 100 per cent him,” the managers said.
The “incredibly relieved” worker had not informed his wife he had lost his wages as “he didn’t want [any] stress over Christmas” said the couple, who revealed that Mariusz left a “hefty tip” for the bartender who found the money.
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An Espresso Martini Bar, a chocolate masterclass and a focus on the quality of water are among the brand activations at this year’s London Coffee Festival.
Jack White has announced a free London show which will take place today (28 March) at 5pm. The rock musician is celebrating the release of his third solo album Boarding House Reach with the gig at the historic George Inn, near London Bridge. Entry to the show is free – doors open from 3.30pm and the gig will be a first-come, first-served basis.
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