It’s 9.30am on a rare Saturday morning in London and I (as usual) wake up a bit earlier than my beardy boy (he likes to watch NBA games at night). It’s few days until my PhD thesis dissertation, I can feel the anxiety rapidly growing everyday, but I’m quite happy and relieved today as we planned to take the day off.
I’ve been invited to attend the London Coffee Festival in Brick Lane (by far my favorite spot in London). It takes about 20 secs to convince my boyfriend to buy his own ticket for the festival, as we – yes the nr.1 Italian stereotype fits quite well in this case – of course love coffee! I start preparing breakfast (avoiding the cup of morning coffee) and wait my boyfriend to wake up. Then, we get ready and jump on the motorbike. Meanwhile the sunlight has been hidden behind worrying dark clouds, but we are quite lucky and get to Central London avoiding rain.
The festival – which takes place every year in London – is held at the Old Truman Brewery, one of the landmark buildings in the heart of the “road of curry” (yes, Brick Lane is the most known site for Indian restaurants in London). This is where East Londoners and tons of tourists like to go on Sundays, where the building becomes populated by stands advertising emerging brands and food stalls from (if you pop by, make sure you try the okonomiyaki, a japanise style pancake made of cheese, savoy cabbage and sweetcorn with an amazing soy dip). For the 07th-10th April weekend however, the Old Truman Brewery totally smells coffee, as every stall is selling coffee, tea, and chocolate related products.
As we get there I look for the press entrance and get in, while my boyfriend queues (longest queue ever, but the English organization obviously makes it flow fast!). Inside, we receive a nice shopping bag and a guide (pretty useful I must say) that lists all the brands and events happening over three floors! We get immediately offered a couple of coffee and cappuccino (I love it) tastings and we stop by a beer-garden area that has been created at the first floor. The nice bar with beach-chairs serves amazing coffee-flavored Martinis, and we cannot miss the opportunity to have a sip while we listen to some pretty amazing bands playing live music.
We wander around the building, try refreshing pomegranate and blackberry cold teas at the Starbucks stall) and of course I cannot miss the chance of taking a picture here!
We get to try a bunch of different teas and caffeine-free drinks at TeaPigs and I fall in love and buy this amazing set and teacup!
Then, we continue our stroll around the stalls and since our Italian roots are pretty evident, we repeatedly get stopped by the sellers that look seriously interested in our expert opinion! We also receive a bunch of coffee capsules to try at home from some nice sellers.
We follow the music played by a dj up to the second floor and get to taste a number of different chocolates (we also try the dry beef with dark chocolate and black pepper coating by Hotel Chocolat, unexpectedly amazing!) and variously flavored coffees.
Masterclasses are also happening at the festival, spanning from the stalls demonstrating how to brew the perfect coffee at home to how to best combine coffee and food, while some resellers showcase the most sophisticated and modern coffee machines. Before leaving (after having tasted the 10th coffee!), we stop by the stall managed by Baileys, where by spinning the cocktail wheel of fortune we win a huge icecream coffee-Baileys flavored with 5kgs of toppings :O
On our way towards the exit, we attend a nice demonstration of how to make self-brewed coffee while camping with a portable machine (see video below!), and my boyfriend of course wants to buy one!
Unfortunately we cannot make it on time for the best bartender competition final, but we will definitely be back next year!
We head back home as we have some friends over for dinner, feeling the awaking power of caffeine and getting read for another sleepless night watching NBA!
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