I’m not sure when it became cool to appear unenthused about free stuff. I think it was the 90’s. Anyways, I missed that memo. I get excited about free perfume samples in magazines or even better, free samples in supermarkets. Yep – I’m the person that double-backs for that sumptuous second piece of chorizo on a cocktail stick. Of course the idea is that free samples will entice the taster to buy, which I do, but only if I L-O-V-E it!
Anyways, the London Coffee Festival (LCF) happened last weekend (6th – 9th of April). If you’ve been – you’ll know that free samples are a given. Not surprising really – it’s the act of tasting that determines the sale. And tasting we did. I found 24 empty sample cups in my bag last night and that’s the tip of the coffee-berg. But this is essentially what I L-O-V-E about the LCF. It’s a festival that unequivocally celebrates taste. And with over 250 artisan coffee and gourmet food brands itching to tickle your taste buds – you’re guaranteed a one-way ticket to Flavour-ville.
As well as stalls, tastings and demonstrations from world-class baristas, there was interactive workshops, live music, DJs, art exhibitions and more.
Though trust me to sniff out and make a beeline for the chocolate…
I mentioned earlier that I need to feel the love before I buy that sample product but at the LCF, it wasn’t easy to single out exceptional products because there were SO many! The owners and representatives of the many brands know their stuff and are completely passionate about the products. There is no hard sell needed because to be frank, the products are exceptional. Furthermore, there’s tons of industry professionals milling around so hood-winking about mythical product features doesn’t really seem to happen. So, after much deliberation, here are my top 5 must-buy products from the LCF.
1. Redemption Roasters
Would you buy speciality coffee that’s been roasted in Aylesbury prison? That’s probably a question you didn’t expect. Does knowing that it can help to reduce the incidence of prisoners re-offending persuade you any more?
As part of their mission to help young offenders successfully reintegrate into society, Redemption Roasters provide professional training in roasting coffee and competition-level barista skills. The coffee is then sold in small batches to both wholesale and retail customers.
I tasted their coffee at LCF and was blown away by the flavour. Make sure to check them out https://www.redemptionroasters.com/our-story
2. Press’d Coffee
This was one of my favourite discoveries at LCF – the founders promise “coffee in a squeeze” and that’s exactly what you get. So out with the instant and in with the squeeze.
The squeezy capsule cleverly fits in the palm of your hand and makes 16 cups of coffee. It’s portable design means that you can enjoy this coffee anywhere as you just need to add hot water.
And the taste? Pretty delicious if I do say so. While most instant coffee is spray dried under heat, Press’d is made with a new technology, a patented low temperature brew method that preserves the flavor and aroma of the bean in liquid form. A genius idea that deserves high praise.
In this instance – I’m going to let the photos do the talking. These guys make, bake and supply wholesale cakes, traybakes and flapjacks to coffee shops and cafes across the UK and all from their Bristol bakery.
The cakes are exceptional – amazing flavours, squidgy textures and a pure longing for more. Yum.
There is sadly one drawback. These cakes are for primarily sold to coffee shops so not really available for individual purchase. However, you can “wholesale” order these delicious goodies for a special occasion like a wedding or even office party. Hmm, I need to plan some kind of office party purely so I can order in these delights…https://www.cakesmiths.com/
4. Mr Black
I’ve never met an Australian that didn’t like a drink. And seemingly, neither have Mr Black’s founders. They’re an Australian brand, equally keen on coffee and booze and so cleverly decided to combine the two to create this delicious cold brew liquor.
It’s boozy coffee made by people who really get coffee. Mr Black is entirely cold-extracted (using significantly lower temperatures) which creates a less acidic brew and big coffee flavour – perfect for creating a liquor.
Mr Black has won a gold medal at the London International Wine and Spirits competition which is a sure sign that they are onto something good. I didn’t even need seconds to convince me to buy. This is the real deal and I happily bought two. http://mrblack.co/
Didn’t take long for the liquer to kick in 🙂
5. Mallow & Marsh / Baru
I actually wasn’t able to chose a favourite between these two gourmet marshmallow brands so it’s a tie. Mallow & Marsh are a UK based company and pride themselves on creating creamy bundles of gooey deliciousness while Baru are a young Belgian company that builds on the Belgian chocolate heritage in a playful and original way.
Flavours include coconut, raspberry and vanilla, of which the latter two are coated in chocolate. It’s basically everything you’ve ever needed in a sweet treat. https://www.mallowandmarsh.com
Baru offers close competition with their deliciously tempting flavours…http://www.baru.be/en/who-what-how/
And there you have it – my top 5 London Coffee Festival products. There’s countless more brands that caught my eye which makes this festival really worth going to.
And that’s a wrap.
Cheers London Coffee Festival! FYI: Your espresso martinis are Out. Of. This. World