The London Coffee Festival

Posted on April 29th, 2013 by Robin Goldsmith in Beer, Drink, Food

London Coffee Festival

I know I moan about London from time to time, especially when stuck on the Tube, but surely nowhere is ‘Cool Britannia’ more in evidence than in our capital city. London has been totally transformed since the 1980s and must be one of the top culinary destinations in the world for pure choice. You can eat or drink anything in the capital and the London Coffee Festival illustrated how London has become a haven for top quality coffee. From pop-up stalls to sit-down cafés, you can really enjoy your caffeine-in-a-cup like never before. There are clearly too many coffees to mention, but I particularly enjoyed the strong and delicious Neapolitan style from Kimbo and the delightfully smooth Vietnamese coffee from The Saigon Coffee Company.

There were some good talks too, especially one on chocolate and coffee matching. Dark roasting can bring out malty, chocolatey undertones, but it was interesting to note how a decaffeinated espresso style can also be a particularly good match for certain styles of dark chocolate, e.g. Lindt Excellence "A Touch of Sea Salt". Hints of naturally sweet dried fruit, caramel and nuts in the Brazil Cerrado Decaf mixed well in the mouth with the slightly salted chocolate. Perhaps this also demonstrates how much the quality and choice of decaffeinated coffee has improved over the years and it’s so much easier now to find the style of coffee we want.

However, it’s not only coffee that was showcased. Tea is also enjoying a modernising image uplift and the award-winning Tea Pigs is at the forefront of this renaissance in the UK. Supplementing an already impressive range, their Matcha, 100% ground green tea leaves, is high in antioxidants and offers a slow-release caffeine energy booster which can be mixed into fruit juice too. It was also good to see Fruitbroo’s hot drink fruit juice blends again, which I previously wrote about in my review of IFE2013. Their redesigned bottles look modern and appealing and their ‘Lemon and Ginger’ flavour was great. Another company with an impressive range of products was Let’s Chocolaat, in particular their 1 litre cartons of wonderful Spanish drinking chocolate. Lastly, among the drinks, I have to highlight the range of craft beers from Brewers&Union. Their hoppy and fruity IPA was delicious and would make a great accompaniment to a traditional Ploughman’s Lunch or spicy food.

The festival was not just about liquid refreshments and it was a pleasure to sample Moma’s delicious Bircher Muesli again. They also produce fantastic porridge in single-portion pots – perfect with a morning coffee. Grasshopper Foods likewise make porridge pots and they also have three 100% natural oatmeal-thickened soups with flavours such as "Lentil & Coconut" and a new range of noodles. Both these companies reflect a growing dissatisfaction with additive-laden and flavour-compromised fast food and it’s good to see them receiving such a good response from consumers.

There’s clearly a demand for and growing interest in better quality food and drink. The London Coffee Festival was packed with people attracted by the smells and tastes of good coffee, a far cry from the bland, instant granules that used to be a staple of everyday life in years gone by. Viva the hot drinks and good food revolution!

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