Over the last few years, London’s vibrant coffee scene has gone from strength to strength – with some of the world’s best baristas, micro-roasteries and independent coffee shops to be found in the capital.
Celebrating the UK’s ongoing love affair with the ancient beverage, the London Coffee Festival is a three-day extravaganza held at the Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane. Easily accessible from the Liverpool Street and Aldgate Underground stations, the site is sure to be overrun with skilled baristas and coffee connoisseurs.
There’ll be boutique stalls serving unique blends, experimental coffee-making workshops and a bustling food market. In addition to the world-class beverages, visitors will be able to enjoy gourmet food and shop from a selection of speciality meats, cheeses and other produce.
Held between April 25th and 28th, the festival is held concurrently with UK Coffee Week – an industry fundraising initiative which aims to provide clean water and sanitation to coffee-growers in the developing world. A ticket to one of the festival’s three-hour sessions costs £9.50 and 50 per cent of proceeds go to charity.
Besides the workshops, tasting sessions and markets to be held at the Old Truman Brewery site, other London institutions will be pitching in to celebrate UK Coffee Week. On Friday and Saturday (April 26th and 27th), in partnership with the festival, the Museum of London will be running guided walks that explore “the capital’s rich history in the consumption of coffee, tea and sugar”.
The museum’s head of history collections, Alex Werner, will give a lively and engrossing talk on the trade of these commodities, which boomed in the 17th and 18th centuries. Then, attendees will be guided through the streets of east London to visit the sites of historical coffee houses – the bustling hubs where caffeine-fuelled patrons could debate the pressing intellectual issues of the day.
Walks take place at 10:15am and 1pm and start from the museum. Booking is essential, and tickets cost £12 for adults with a concessionary rate of £10. The Museum of London is served by the Barbican and St Paul’s tube stops, so it’s only a short trip from major London hotels and landmarks.