It’s that time again. From 5pm on Friday May 1, to 7pm on Sunday May 3, the Old Truman Brewery in Brick Lane will once again be the showcase for the London Coffee Festival. This is the fifth festival, and the organisers expect over 20,000 bean-lovers to visit. And there’s more to see than ever. Several of the capital’s top roasters will be there, including Caravan, Square Mile and Workshop. There’ll be lots of food (including the delectable dogs of Herman ze German), demonstrations and many, many tasting opportunities. There’s too much for any one customer to take in, alas – even if they are turbocharged with caffeine. But two agenda items look particularly buzzy. One is the pop-up roastery, which comes courtesy of another of London’s stars, Union Coffee Roasters. If you’ve never seen (or smelled) the roasting process, here’s your chance to do it under the tutelage of Union’s knowledgeable owners.
If you like your cup with a bit of blood, toil, tears and sweat, then head to Coffee Masters, a new multi-disciplinary barista competition. Twenty shortlisted baristas have to prove their worth in six categories, including the most sadistic ‘cupping’ (blind-tasting) challenge I’ve ever come across. For the baristas, it’s all in good cause: fame, glory, and the prestigious Coffee Master title. Oh, and a £5,000 cheque. Wanna watch them suffer? Click here to learn more and buy tickets, which start at £11.50 for adults and £4.50 for children aged 10-16. Opening hours are 5-10pm on Friday, 10am-7pm on Saturday and Sunday. And note that on Saturday and Sunday there are three sessions, and tickets are valid for a single session only.
By Richard Ehrlich