Whether you’re an espresso enthusiast, a filter fanatic, or a cold brew champion, the London Coffee Festival promises a buzzing atmosphere – and plenty of caffeine. And it doesn’t matter if you’re a seasoned barista, or simply a regular at your local café, there’s loads to learn, do, and experience. With the four day festival kicking off today, running from April 20-23, here’s our guide to the 8 can’t miss things to do at the London Coffee Festival:
1. Drink ALL the coffee
We’ll kick things off with an obvious one here – it’s a coffee festival and all of the coffees are included in your ticket price. So make sure you take advantage of it and try out as many different coffees as you can. Try out a new roastery, a new coffee format, or compare and contrast coffee varieties from around the world and find a new favourite. It’s ultimately what the day is all about – spreading the joy of coffee. Just make sure to drink plenty of water too, and pace yourself, otherwise you’ll be bouncing off the walls before you know it!
Don’t know where to start? Here’s our list of some of my favourite roasteries who will be doling out hot java to festival-goers:
- Allpress Espresso
- Blossom Coffee Roasters
- Carnival Coffee Roasters
- Five Elephant
- Hermanos Colombian Coffee Roasters
- Pelicano Coffee Co.
- QU Espresso
- Redemption Roasters
2. Try out an alternative alternative milk
At this point, I’d wager that the majority Londoners order their coffee with oat milk rather than dairy. The old-adopters of alt-milks may still be using soy, or even almond, but there’s way more than just those options. Festival attendees can check out the likes of potato milk (DUG) or even pea milk (Sproud). But if you’re a die-hard oat- or almond-milk drinker, find a new favourite brand by sampling the offerings from the likes of Glebe Farm, Califia Farms, MOMA, Minor Figures, and more.
You can even try out some alt-milk ice creams and shakes, thanks to DÁPPA’s soft serve ice cream blended from almonds and cashews.
3. Catch a barista battle
Tensions are sure to run high at the London Coffee Festival, when 16 baristas will compete across a variety of coffee disciplines for a grand prize of £5000, and the prestigious title of Coffee Master. There won’t be any fisticuffs, though – or at least there aren’t any planned. Just plenty of coffee-making and tasting.
4. Stuff your face with food
It wouldn’t be a festival without a whole host of food vendors now, would it? Leading the charge are the many chocolate producers who will be showcasing their wares, such as Cocohagen, H!P CHOCOLATE, Juan Choconat, and Islands Chocolate. Even more sweet treats will be on offer from Brown and Blond, Only Cannoli, and finger doughnut vendors Longboys. But it’s not all about dessert, with plenty more savoury options and snacks to be found around the festival. We’ve got our eyes on Little Jack Horner’s sausage rolls!
5. Sip on something different
Let’s be real – by the fourth or fifth coffee your body will be crying out for something else. Whether that’s tea, a smoothie, soda, or kombucha, London Coffee Festival has you sorted. Take a break from the beans and grab a chai from Prana Chai, a fizzy Momo’s kombucha, or perhaps a fruit packed still lemonade from Hullabaloos.
6. Shake things up at the Smirnoff Cocktail Bar
Given London’s love affair with the Espresso Martini (the obvious conjunction of two Londoner obsessions: cocktails and coffee!), this is a must-visit experience. Coffee legend Will Pitts and top mixologist La’Mel from Seed Library will be mixing up delicious coffee cocktails at London Coffee Festival. You can also take part in a 45-minute masterclass where you’ll make a classic Espresso Martini and a special LCF signature coffee cocktail.
During the masterclass you’ll also get to try out the ultimate home espresso machine, as you pull shots with the La Marzocco Linea Micra. Once you’ve seen it and tasted the coffee it makes, you’ll forevermore dream of it finding a space in your kitchen. (I know I’ve personally dreamed of owning a La Marzocco for at least the past four years!)
7. Fine-tune your latte art skills
Head to the Modbar where Latte Art Live is back, hosted by Alpro, to take your latte art game to the next level. There will be demonstrations of unimaginably creative latte art, head to head throw downs, and hands-on workshops. You’ll become a pro in no time!
8. Get into the details with talks at The Lab by Lavazza
For the absolute nerdiest of the coffee nerds (aka, me), and those invested in the tiniest details of the coffee world, The Lab by Lavazza’s talks are not to be missed. Topics will range from sustainability to inspiring women leaders to insight into coffee consumer culture. Settle in to listen to the discussion and you’ll quickly find out just how much coffee you’ve had, when you can’t keep still.
All the while, DJs will be spinning tunes so you can get jiggy jittery with it, and to keep the festival vibes pumping. Coffee fans do not want to miss this event, after all it’s “the biggest coffee party on Earth”.
The London Coffee Festival takes places at The Truman Brewery, Brick Lane, E1 6QR. Grab your tickets here.