Since Italian traders introduced coffee to the west in the 17th century we haven’t been able to get enough of it. London’s enthusiastic and at times bizarre relationship with coffee goes from strength to strength. In 2011 London was responsible for creating the largest cup of coffee and recently we took it a step further by fueling a 250 mile car journey using 11,000 espressos… put simply we like coffee.
Kicking of Coffee Week London Coffee Festival aims to celebrate London’s bustling and vibrant coffee scene. Over 30,000 people were estimated to have attended this month’s event which featured over 250 artisan coffee and gourmet food stalls, tastings and demonstrations, workshops and live music.
One of the stand-out master classes came from one of the shows main sponsors, Bonavita who taught us how to brew perfect coffee at home. Associating coffee at home with bog-standard instant products I was intrigued to pick up a few tips. We were taught that the crucial step to the perfect home brew is reaching and maintaining the optimal water temperature – getting this step wrong can cause an unbalanced flavour profile. We then got to make coffee using a precise Bonivita brewer which avoids the aforementioned problem by boiling the water to the appropriate temperature. The specially engineered carafe then uses a tight-fitting lid and vacuum-walled design to keep the coffee warm for sustained periods. Feeling proud of my efforts my thoughts instantly turned to how I can impress visitors to my flat using my new special techniques.
Another coffee lovers toy we got to play around with was their digital variable temperature goose-neck kettle. Being quite naive, ignorant and simply uneducated when it comes to kettles I was not aware that you could buy models which do more than simply heat your water. Bonavita’s kettle comes with a digital display which allows you to choose the precise number of degrees you want the kettle to heat too. This opens up all sorts of opportunities depending on what you are drinking – gone are the days when you have to wait for your green tea to cool down before enjoying it. Simply set the desired temperature to something below boiling and you can enjoy it right away. Once you have your desired temperature you then have the option to instruct the gadget to hold the water temperature for up to an hour ensuring instant re-fills!
As a guy who usually only grabs a Latte from the nearest coffee shop, London Coffee festival was a real eye-opener to the quality of drinks which can be achieved at home and the sophisticated equipment available to achieve it. I left the first day of the festival feeling ever more the barista!
Keep an eye out for more tips and tales from our experiences at this year’s London Coffee Festival.
Words by Jack David