Two days after arriving back in the UK I headed off to London to attend the London Coffee Festival in Brick Lane. We had gone last year and had a great time sampling coffees, checking out the new brewing techniques, gorging on street food, buzzing with free flat whites and wrapping it off with an Espresso Martini – it was a great day all round.
So we headed into town on Sunday hoping for another coffee fuelled day! I was overall slightly disappointed by the festival this year, I don’t know whether it was the jetlag and shock of being back in the UK, but the place was packed and extremely hot (should be used to it by now!), and I am ashamed to say that we only lasted about an hour before we left, but despite these few gripes, and the short time we were there, it was an interesting day and I found out a couple of new things and trends that I thought were interesting (for me anyway!)
Cold Brew Coffee
So based on the festival it looks as though this is the next big thing in coffee. So big that there was a whole room dedicated to it.
Now cold brew coffee is made by soaking coarse-ground beans in cold water for a prolonged period of time, usually 12 hours or more. The result is a coffee concentrate that can be served straight up or is often diluted with water or milk, and can be served hot, over ice, or blended with ice and other ingredients such as chocolate. I always assumed it was the same as iced coffee, but it is different as iced coffee is brewed hot and then chilled by pouring over or adding ice.
Anyway, we sampled a few different ones at the good beans stand and the Ozone Coffee Roasters stand.
We walked away with a small bottle of the Ethiopian cold brew coffee in a really nice little bottle (below). I tried this out, straight from the fridge, straight up, using my lovely middle eastern coffee cups that my friend gave me during my time in Dubai.
On trying this at home, I was pleasantly surprised, as it is brewed for so long, it retains the taste and strength of a nice cup of coffee, but has that added refreshment. I often find Iced Coffee so weak to not really have any coffee taste, this was the opposite. Something we will definitely look to stock at the coffee shop, and something that I am sure I will be drinking on those (rare) sunny days this summer!
Probably the coolest thing that I saw was the Ikawa home roaster. This little beauty takes beans and roasts them perfectly in small batches, perfect for your morning cup of coffee! It is linked to an app on your smartphone and tells you exactly how long the perfect roast is depending on the bean that you are using. So you can wake up in the morning and start it roasting from the comfort of your own bed – pretty cool!
I love the idea of being able to do the whole process from bean to cup in the comfort of your own home, and if it wasn’t for the fact that this was just a Kickstarter project at the moment and that the price is £750+ – I would have snapped one up then and there, oh well maybe Christmas 2015!!
More info here on the product and Kickstarter if you are interested
One of the most exciting places at the coffee festival is the lab in which you can play around with and sample different brewing techniques and machines. Last year l I came away with a Chemex Drip coffee machine, that I absolutely love and makes superb drip coffee, this year I was tempted to see what other kind of coffee machines I can get hold of for my collection!
In the end I didn’t pick anything up, but that is not to say that I am not looking, the next 2 machines that I am hoping to get hold of are:
At last years festival it was between this and the Chemex and we did a little taste test to decide. For me the Chemex produced, in my opinion, a slightly smoother and less bitter coffee. It also looks awesome, so we decided to buy one of them for our new house. The Chemex is a pure coffee filter so you pour water on grounds and wait for the extraction. With the 2 machines below, they use more force to extract the coffee quicker
The Aeropress makes a stronger cup of coffee and in about half the time – and at only £30, so definitely one I want to add to my collection!
This is a simple system to use it is made up of 2 cylinders. Ground coffee goes in the bottom of one of the cylinders, then water is poured over the top. The second cylinder is fitted on top to create a vacuum and then you simply push the water through the coffee to create a nice hot cup of brewed coffee.
I have seen this used in a number of coffee shops in London and elsewhere to produce quick, delicious brewed coffee.
ROK Espresso Machine
So I think once I have the Aeropresss I have brewed coffee pretty much nailed in my household! So the next thing to thing about is Espresso coffee, so I can try and perfect the perfect one at home and even try and branch out to flat whites and the rest. I am not a fan of the huge espresso machines, or Nespresso (although I cant deny they do make good coffee) I don’t have the space, or the money. But then I came across this beauty, the ROK hand-powered espresso machine
This does exactly the same as those fancy espresso machines, hot water at the top, ground coffee in the middle and force pushes the grounds through the water to create espresso – just with this one you use brute force!
think this looks wicked and with a little handheld milk frother I could be knocking up flat whites soon – now to convince the wife that this is an essential purchase!!
If like me, you are a bit of a coffee geek, have a look at this article here about the various coffee machines. Written by the owners of 2 fantastic coffee shops in Bath we visited last week (more about that later).