Book Review – Coffee: A Global History by Jonathan Morris

Coffee a global history bookCoffee: A Global History written by Professor Jonathan Morris is part of Reaktion books ‘Edible Series’. As a geographer I have always been interested in how things shape the world, and these books provide a great insight into how particular items of food and drink have developed over time, in different places and how they have influenced, and been influenced by, different cultures – the clue is in the title really – a global history.

There is something about this series of books that for me are particularly appealing. Small-ish hardbacks with glossy pages and well-illustrated throughout, and the book on coffee is no exception to this. The book has six key chapters which explore the different stages of coffee’s history from some of the basics about coffee, to discussions of modern day coffee cultures.

The first main chapter ‘from seed to cup’ examines just that how we get coffee, and the different elements of the journey to making it from the different types, to processing, trading to roasting and even aspects of coffee and health. Chapter 2 is where we start to get more into coffees history beginning with some of the coffee origin myths that around Kaldi, the goatherd who supposedly notices the animals becoming more energetic after eating coffee berries. Moving through time and across the world the chapter, ‘the wine of Islam’ explores how the culture of coffee and coffee houses spread to different places, and how different coffee cultures started to develop, and where at times there was resistance to them. Chapter 3 ‘Colonial good’ moves on to the next stage of coffee history which was entwined with colonial histories, exploring the spread of coffee culture. Having visited the sites of some of the earliest coffee houses in the UK, it’s fascinating to read about how London’s coffee house culture started, and the fluctuations that took place in coffee culture since its introduction there. As with all the chapters in the book, the content moves from one place to another highlighting the global nature of coffee, not only as a commodity, in how plants were moved from one country to another, but how countries relationships have been an important component of influencing how the coffee industry spread, and how different parts of the world rose and fall in prominence over time.

Chapter 4 focuses on coffee as an ‘industrial product’ examining the role of the American civil war in developing coffee consumption habits, the early companies in the coffee’s industrial history, the role of Brazil in the coffee world, as well as other countries in the Americas. The chapter also considers how the household became a place for coffee consumption, and some of the early marketing efforts to encourage people to buy it. Chapter five explores coffee as a ‘global commodity’, the rise of coffee growing in Africa, as well as different coffee styles and forms in different countries across the globe. The chapter ends exploring the coffee crisis, the volatility in the price of coffee, and the impact in different areas. Chapter 6 then moves towards the modern era, ‘the specialty beverage’ examining how the growth of specialty coffee has taken place, and the growth of some of the more familiar coffee cultures we are familiar with today, from Starbucks to the third wave specialty coffee shop. There are also explorations of more modern focuses in the coffee industry around ethical coffee and coffee pods. Towards the end of the chapter Prof. Morris considers if how the specialty revolution is important for the future of coffee alongside other key important factors, most notably climate change.

Towards the end of the book there is also a short recipe section which is a nice concise introduction to some of the different ways you might want to try and make coffee, the brew ratio suggestion table is an easy way to see how the brew methods can differ. A short glossary is helpful to understand the modern day coffee shop menu, and there is even a recipe for coffee cake as well as other coffee-based recipes.

This is an excellent book for people who know a little, or a lot about coffee. The book takes you on a global journey of how coffee and coffee culture has developed, highlighting people, places and events that have shaped the industry into what it is today. I’ve learnt a lot from this book, and it’s help me place things I knew a little about into a more coherent timeline of events, and more details about things I had perhaps seen mentioned briefly elsewhere, as well as lots of new information too. The sections in this book are short, but detailed and engaging, and as I mentioned earlier in the review, well illustrated, bringing some of the topics in the book to life.

Reading this book has not only enriched my knowledge about coffee, but reminded me that these books are a great way to learn about different cultures, histories and places through different foods and drinks  – I will have to return to some of the Edible Series in my wish list.

If you think you might be interested in this book, then it’s also worth listening to the Coffee Podcast episode where Prof Morris discusses some common coffee myths around the origin of coffee and some particular drinks.

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Book Review – Coffee: From Bean to Barista by Robert Thurston

I had a bit of time over the holidays to catch up on some of the latest coffee related books. I’d actually forgotten I’d pre-ordered this one so it was a nice surprise just before Christmas. I learnt about the work of Robert Thurston through the book ‘Coffee: A Comprehensive guide to the bean’ that he edited along with Jonathan Morris (who also has a new book out which I’m currently reading – Coffee: A Global History). Someone asked me recently if there was anything new to read about coffee, and wasn’t it just the same old thing repackaged? While some of the guides to coffee brewing and coffee shop locations might be somewhat repetitive, this is not the case with this book. Devoted to coffee the book explores the history, cultivation and culture of coffee. It’s divided into five chapters, with three key chapters focusing on producing countries, roasting coffee and making coffee, as well as coffee and health.

Coffee From Bean to BaristaChapter 2 explores the journey coffee takes in producing countries from the farms it is grown on to the ports where it departs. This includes information about the coffee plant, where it grows, issues with growing coffee and coffee certifications. The chapter then moves on to sections discussing women in coffee as well as the different ways coffee is harvested and processed. A particularly interesting section of this chapter explores the coffee prices across the supply chain using the authors’ experiences in his own roastery. Whenever I discuss this issue with students they are always surprised at how little farmers earn, but also given so many parts to the supply chain and number of people involved, that coffee isn’t more expensive. As Professor Thurston points out ‘for the most part, no one is making big profit in the commodity chain, although millions of sales – especially of coffee heavily charged with milk, as in lattes and cappuccinos – can result in billions in net revenue for a company like Starbucks’. (p.56). The chapter ends by highlighting how climate change may affect the coffee industry, as well as considering the future of coffee arguing ‘the best path towards greater social justice in the coffee industry is to get more people to drink more and better coffee’(p.66).

Chapter three explores coffee roasting and coffee consumption and some of its key developments. There’s a nice and simplified version of the coffee tasting wheel that highlights some of the basic flavour notes that can tasted from coffee, which accompanies a discussion of specialty coffee, and what that means. There are some great sections on coffee consumption around the world which explores not only consumption rates, but how coffee drinking habits spread around the globe. The chapter then moves on to document developments in roasting coffee, and an explanation of the roasting process before outlining some different ways to prepare coffee with an important point: ‘There is no need to get a lot of fancy equipment to make good coffee at home’ (p.116).

Chapter four focuses on different aspects of coffee and health. This begins with a little history to views on coffee and health, and how approaches to coffee and coffee houses has shifted over time. There is a detailed section on a key chemical in coffee, caffeine, as well as a section on recent research on coffee and health. The book concludes by returning to a number of key issues facing the coffee industry around climate change and sustainability of the coffee industry, highlighting how it is important for more money to reach the farmers end of the supply chain.

The book is written in a very engaging style, with a feel like the author is talking to the reader, sometimes with details about the author’s experiences, or tips for the reader to help them enjoy their coffee. There’s a helpful glossary at the end too for some of the key terms and acronyms used throughout the book. A welcome addition to my ‘coffee library’.

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New publication: From bean to cup and beyond: exploring ethical consumption and coffee shops

To finish off the year on the café spaces blog, a new article drawing on our research around the coffee shop industry and ethical consumption has been published in the Journal of Consumer Ethics. As part of a special issue on Food and Ethical Consumption, the article ‘From Bean to cup and beyond: exploring ethical consumption and coffee shop’, written with my co-author Dr Carlos Ferreira explores some of the issues relation to ethical consumption for the coffee shop industry. paper illuminates some of the complexities consumers face around ethical consumption in coffee shops focusing on three areas in particular: the business model of coffee shop chosen; the ethical qualities of coffee consumed; and what happens to the waste produced.

It begins by exploring the growth of the coffee shop industry and the implications this has for increased consumption of products and energy. After examining some of the literature related to ethical consumption and coffee shops the article presents a model to illustrate some of the coffee shop choices consumers face and where ethical consumption choices can be made. The article highlights how there are many components which can contribute to ethical consumption in coffee shops. The choice of coffee shop presents consumers with an ethical choice, as well as the coffee consumed in these places, although the article highlights there is some confusion among consumers about what constitutes ‘ethical’ coffee. The article then moves on to consider how ethical consumption choices can be made regarding waste produced, in particular around the issue of disposable coffee cups. In doing so it highlights how there are a range of stakeholders than can play a part in fostering more ethical consumption choices.

The Journal of Consumer Ethics is an open access interdisciplinary academic journal for research into ethical consumption, and the article along with the others in the special issue are free to download.



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Looking back at the coffee in 2018

Much of my 2018 has been fuelled by coffeee. Last year I made the decision to try and vary the coffee we drank at home to explore different coffees and brewing methods, learn more about the growing coffee roasting industry, and support independent businesses in the process. This didn’t quite go to plan when I became pregnant again and even the smell of coffee made me feel very queasy (slightly problematic for a coffee industry researcher). However, part of the way into the year I returned to coffee drinking and made an effort to vary the beans we used in the house. It’s been fantastic to try so many different coffees rather than just sticking with the one we always used to have. There are so many different independent coffee roasters out there, with different stories to tell with their coffee.

I’ve discovered lots of new roasters, begun to explore the different tastes that coffee can provide, and attempted to try different brewing methods along the way. I was really pleased to have discovered Dog & Hat coffee subscriptions which we’ve used for most of the year. This has introduced me to coffees from roasters across the UK and beyond. It’s always a good day when at the end of the month the Dog & Hat parcel arrives. It’s hard to pick favourites from all of these, but the Kibingo Burundi coffee from Maude Coffee Roasters, as well as the Mountain Rescue Colombia from Red Bank Coffee Roasters were particularly memorable.  The team at Dog & Hat have provided acess to a range of excellent roasters each month, and it was great to see them featured in a recent edition of Caffeine magazine.

With the publication of an article about the growing coffee shop culture in China, I really wanted to try and taste some coffee grown in China. I was kindly given some Chinese coffee from Grumpy Mule from the Fuyan Cooperative and managed to find buy some more from Cricklewood Coffee Roasters too. Later in the year on a trip to London I also discovered the Ou Yang Chinese coffee from Square Mile Coffee Roasters. All three were great, though I keep hearing how specialty coffee growing in China is improving and there will be even better coffees in the future. I’m keen to keep trying coffee from this region to see how it develops.

There were a lot of coffee highlights from throughout the year. Attending coffee festivals in London, Birmingham, Bristol and Coventry led to the acquisition of more coffee. A particular highlight were the coffees from Girls Who Grind Coffee, an all female roastery based in the south west of the UK who source their coffees from female producers. Not only do they have striking art work on the coffee bags, provided some really interesting flavours, but they are doing some fantastic work supporting women working in coffee. I was really pleased to see they had beans for sale in London St Pancras station later in the year!

I’ve had a few opportunities to try roasters from outside the UK too, not only throught the Dog & Hat subscription but through a bit of travelling, gifts and a taster set from the Right Roast.

Exploring some of the coffee roasters in and around Porto was great fun. I’ve been researching coffee culture in Portugal for some time, and it’s been fascinating to see how specialty coffee is growing there. We picked up beans from a few places but in terms of the coffee experience the highlight was 7g roaster around the Port wine area of Gaia, with a large coffee shop with an open view to the roastery. We had some Brazilian beans from here which were excellent as espresso.

A geographer by training one of the fascinating things I find about coffee is all the different places it comes from. Many roasters provide a lot of detail about the source of their coffee, some times down to the individual farm. It’s fascinating to see how different types of coffee coffee grown in diferent countries in different environment can produce such a huge array of flavours. Whether you’re drinking a single origin or a blend of coffees, the geography of the coffee is important!

This post really is a thank you to all the coffee roasters who have kept me going through much of the year. I look forward to discovering more in 2019.

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Book Review: Craft Coffee A Manual

Through my research into the coffee and coffee shop industries I have learnt lots about coffee and the different ways to prepare it – I even went on a SCA Barista Skills course at Prufrock in an attempt to understand a little more about the creation of espresso based drinks. I’ve  interacted with lots of passionate individuals who have demonstrated the various ways in which coffee can be prepared and how this can affect the taste of the coffee. At home I’ve ended up with a small collection of brewing equipment, mainly thanks to family and friends who have been keen to encourage the interest – particularly if it improves the cup of coffee they get when they visit. However, I haven’t spent a great deal of time trying to understand how to use these devices properly. To try and help me with this I was kindly given Craft Coffee: A Manual by Jessica Easto and Andreas Willhoff by a family member. I’ve often turned to youtube to learn about brewing methods but in an era when so much time is spent in front of computer screens, it’s nice to have a book.

Craft Coffee Book CoverCraft Coffee: A Manual is essentially an introductory guide to trying to make coffee at home, exploring the different elements that can affect how it is prepared, as well as the equipment itself. There are six broad chapters, as well as helpful troubleshooting section at the end with tips for how to try and make the best cup of coffee.

Chapter One covers brewing basis, from key points about brew ratios and extraction to how to dial in the coffee in the grinder. The idea of brew ratios was something I never really used to consider. I had a broad idea of what worked and stuck with that. The coffee bewing control chart is helpful for trying to consider how to alter to avoid over and under extraction.

Chapter two moves on to discuss different pieces of important hardware, from the filters to scales and kettles. For the different brewing methods there’s a bit of history about how the device came about and some advice about how to use it. There’s advice and information about various pieces of coffee equipment you can consider including the burr grinder, scales and gooseneck kettle.

Chapter Three turns to the coffee itself to explore the differences in beans, processing methods, through to roasting. It would be impossible in one chapter to provide a comprehensive guide to coffee, but it provides a good overview of  the differernt types and origins and a little about decaffeination processes too. Chapter Four moves on to cover Buying the Coffee consideing not only where you would typically buy craft coffee but also about how to understand the usual information on the labels, and how to store it at home.

Chapter Five explores the Flavour of coffee, from acidity to aroma and how one goes about assessing flavour. If anyone has ever seen the flavour wheel for coffee, the it can easy be daunting to try and identify the flavours being produced. It even suggests to have a coffee tasting party  – as the authors suggst ‘honing your coffee-tasting skills is more fun with other people’.

Chapter Six then finishes with an exploration of some of the more typical brew methods including: French Press, Aeropress, Clever Dripper, Siphon, Melitta, BeeHouse, Walküre, Kalita, Chemex, and V60. For each method there is an annotated diagram of the different parts and explanaation of how it works, a suggested brew recipe and an outlined method for how to use it. There are lots of different brew recipes you can use depending on how you like your coffee, but these seem like good starting points. I have to admit that when I started drinking specialty coffee at home I didn’t pay much attention to the amount of coffee and water I was using, or the way I prepared it either. However, I now use making coffee as part of day where I actually slow down for a few minutes and try out different brew methods and ratios to experiment a little with how coffee can taste.

Overall, this was an enjoyable book providing an overview of different aspects of coffee preparation. It provided more detail on elements of the processes I undertake on a regular basis but often don’t really think about. This book would be great for someone who is keen to make a nice cup of coffee at home to give them a good foundation of understanding of how to prepare a good cup, the different ways they may want to try, and about the different things than can affect the outcome! Another nice addition to my coffee library.


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Coffee and communities: Well Grounded – The Specialty Coffee Training Academy

As I’ve explained before on the ‘cafespaces’ blog, the coffee and coffee shop industries have the potential to impact various communities; an important route for doing so is through the activities of social enterprises.

Well Grounded Pop up barista event specialty coffee

A great example is Well Grounded, is a specialty  coffee training academy based in East London which focuses in helping people struggling to find work. Established in 2016 by the current CEO Eve Wagg, the community interest company, has been providing training based on an educational framework to support the development of skills needed to work in the coffee shop industry, and to secure employment.

Well Grounded Pop up barista event specialty coffee

I was fortunate enough to meet some of the most recent graduates of Well Grounded’s specialty coffee training academy at a pop-up barista event to celebrate their graduate. The event held at La Marzocco in London, allowed the recent graduates to demonstrate their new skills to an audience of employers, other Well Grounded graduates and team members, plus a range of other coffee professionals. Before the graduation of the most recent cohort of trainees, there was a talk by the founder Eve Wagg, explaining the educational approach to the training that takes place through Well Grounded as well as presentations by other graduates explaining their personal journeys and the impact of their training.

On talking with some of the recent Well Grounded graduates it was clear that they had a lot of passion, about coffee, but also about developing their skills, and getting the skills they needed to find a job they could be passionate about. On both the espresso bar and brew bar the Well Grounded crew were both informative and enthusiastic; the training not only appears to have provided excellent coffee making skills, but the confidence to work in a busy environment.

Well Grounded Pop up barista event specialty coffee

The team at Well-Grounded are doing a fantastic job of providing training opportunities for people who may otherwise find it difficult to find employment; improving livelihoods as well as enriching the coffee shop industry with lots of passionate individuals ready to use their training in the world of work.



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From pub to coffee shop: changing habits?

The number of pubs in the UK is in decline. The BBC reported that in the second half of 2017, around 18 pubs were closing every week, according to data from The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA). There are a number of reasons thought to be behind this, around changing consumption habits. While the number of pubs may be in decline, the number of coffee shops is still on the rise. The two are not necessarily directly related, although some of the changing consumption patterns may lead to both of these changes – as explored in my article ‘Cafe Nation: Exploring the growth of the UK cafe industry‘.

I’ve noticed in the past that some former pubs have become coffee shops – The Bear and Beignet in Isham (Northamptonshire) was one example, although this closed down too. More recently in Desborough, also in Northamptonshire, a former pub, the Kings Arms had been transformed into a branch of Costa Coffee.

The pub was a Grade II listed building dating back to the early 1700s, so I imagine Costa were relatively limited in what they could do the building itself, but it is interesting to see that the high street coffee shop chains continue to expand into different spaces, including those that would formerly have been pubs. If anyone knows of any coffee shops that have taken over spaces that were formerly pubs I’d be interested to hear about them.


Thanks to my Dad for heading back to Desborough to take the photographs for me!

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A return to Portugal and specialty coffee: Coffee shops, roasters and coffee

Portugal has always had a vibrant coffee culture, with cafes playing a central role in many people’s lives, but as in many places, coffee culture is changing. When I first started to visit Portugal, you would struggle to find places that served anything but the traditional coffees, as I discussed in a previous blog post. But now there is a growing presence of both coffee shop chains, such as Costa coffee and Starbucks, as well independent specialty coffee shops and roasters. When I last looked (in May 2017) there were only a couple of Starbucks in Lisbon, and a few branches of Costa Coffee in Porto and on the south coast. Shortly after arriving in Porto we noticed quite a few people walking around with Starbucks cups, and the Starbucks website suggests there are now branches in Porto, Braga, Lisbon, and Faro.

7G Roasters Vila Nova de Gaia Porto Portugal

On a previous visit to Porto we explored some of the specialty coffee offerings that were there at the time, most notably Mesa 325, the Combi Coffee van and Luso Coffee Roasters. This year we had a range of new places to try, with specialty coffee places located in different areas of the city.

The first stop was the Combi coffee shop, which was a short walk from the main shopping area. When we arrived the Combi Coffee van we had visited before was parked outside, and the shop was open at the front, making it seem even more spacious. We opted to try coffee via aeropress, a smooth coffee to get us started for the day. The Combi shop is definitely a nice addition to the van, and good to see that the business has grown since I last visited. I also noticed that what the coffee shop at the top of the fashion shop ‘The Feeting Room’ now had a window saying the Combi x The Coffee Room, so clearly Combi has a presence there too.

Combi Coffee Porto Portugal

On another day we stopped by Fabrica Coffee Roasters, again in central Porto just a short walk from the main shopping streets. I’ve been reading about Fabrica and their activities in Lisbon so I was pleased to see they had expanded and opened a store in Porto. This coffee shop was much bigger than I had expected, beyond the coffee bar it stretched quite far back with lots of different seating options. There were a few coffees on offer, and we opted for a couple of espressos, one Brazilian and one Rwandan, both were excellent. As with Combi Coffee, there was a range of coffee brewing equipment for sale as well as coffees to brew at home, we decided to get a bag of Burundi beans which was recommended for filter to try later. Having now started to drink it at home, I wish I had bought more! We arrived a few minutes after it had opened (quite a lot of specialty coffee places in Porto only open around 10am), and while we were there it had a steady stream of customers, from what we could tell a mix of both local people and tourists.

Before travelling to Portugal I had heard about another new coffee shop that had recently opened in the centre of Porto. C’Alma Specialty coffee room is housed inside a historic building, up a few steps which means if you sit by the window you get to look down on the street – great for people watching. This place had a range of coffees on offer, both from Portuguese roasters such as Luso Coffee Roasters and its own C’Alma espresso blend, as well as those from further afield including Tim Wendleboe (Oslo) and Five Elephant (Berlin). It’s clearly a place that likes to champion the different tastes that specialty coffee can provide. It offered a range of tasting flights so you could try different coffees prepared via different methods. We didn’t have the option of staying very long so opted for a couple of macchiatos, made with the C’Alma blend which was really smooth. The C’Alma blend we noticed when purchasing a bag was roasted in 7g roaster over in Vila Nova de Gaia, on the other side of the river.

We’d been hoping to visit 7g roaster after reading the article on European Coffee Trip, but weren’t sure if we would have the time. However, with a couple of spare hours we made a quick trip down to the Port wine area of Gaia to see if we could find it. Just a minute from the waterfront, 7g roaster is nestled among the historic buildings and port winery’s of the area. It’s an interesting set up which includes several rental apartments with a coffee shop and roaster at the bottom. The article by Domas Draginis on European Coffee Trip provides a more in-depth look at what this place does. The coffee shop/roastery was another large open space with plenty of tables.

There was an extensive coffee menu, as well as a range of food on offer too. We didn’t have time to stop for food, though what we saw coming out of the kitchen looked great. For this stop we had a naturally processed Ethiopian coffee via V60 an a panama coffee in a cortado. From my perspective one of the great things about this place was how the roaster was a central part of the coffee shop – the large Joper roaster was visible from pretty much anywhere in the shop and was set up behind a bar where people could sit if they wanted to. Clearly 7g roasters are an active part of the coffee community in Porto. On talking with the staff we found out that they worked with C’Alma to get the particular blend they wanted for their coffee, the one we had tried earlier in the week.

There are a growing number of coffee related events, cuppings, and talks taking place in Portugal, and 7g roasters have already been a part of this, hosting the 2018 Portugal Aeropress championship. There were several coffees to purchase for brewing at home on offer, and we decided to go with a Brazilian coffee roasted for espresso.

Something we’ve found in many of the Portuguese specialty coffee places is the both the friendliness of the people working there and the enthusiasm for specialty coffee, and how they encourage people to try, and learn about, specialty coffee. This is something we have found on previous visits but continues to be the case as new places open. There were quite a few other specialty coffee places around Porto that we didn’t get around to visiting, but hopefully will do on future trips including Birds of Passage, Alambique and Café Progresso. If you’re considering visiting Porto, European Coffee Trip have a helpful map with coffee shop guides. Outside of central Porto there were a couple of places around Matosinhos that we were hoping to visit but didn’t get around to it including, Booínga Café and Wanderlust Coffee Lab. Just not enough time on this trip, but clearly there is a growing demand for specialty coffee in the area.

Specialty coffee is clearly on the rise in Portugal, in some of the larger cities such as Lisbon and Porto, but also in other places such as Aveiro which is home to the coffee training organisation Fábrica do Barista. The pace of growth is interesting to watch, and it will be interesting to see if it continues to grow, and what impact that this may have on the coffee culture in the country. I look forward to future visits to explore even more. In the meantime I have a range of coffee roasted in Portugal to try at home. I was spoilt for choice!

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Highlights from the Bristol Coffee House Project

This year I’ve managed to attend a few different coffee festivals, and its interesting to see how different places create and market these events. September saw the arrival of Bristol’s first coffee festival – the Coffee House Project, held in the Passenger shed.

I think this was definitely my favourite venue for a coffee festival so far, a large hall of a former train station, and very easy to get around. There was a packed programme of different events and experiences throughout the festival from the UK Coffee in Good Spirits 2019 competition, to the opportunity to screen print your own tea towel. As you can see from the map there was a great selection of coffee and coffee shop related businesses present.

At the London Coffee Festival I got to try coffee from Girls Who Grind Coffee, an all-female coffee roastery who roast some fantastic coffee from female producers around the world. After seeing the tasting notes of the Honduras coffee as mango and passionfruit pavlova, we had to try that one  – definitely an interesting coffee to try.

I was also really pleased to see the Dog & Hat Coffee subscription business at the festival. We’ve been subscribers with Dog & Hat for a while and we’ve had a fantastic selection of coffee from a wide range of roasters from across the UK and beyond. It was also nice to meet Su, to put a face to the business I’ve been interacting with. If you’re interested in trying out different coffees but don’t know where to start, they are definitely a good option!

 The reusable cup company, KeepCup had a stand, and they even had a really pretty Coffee House Project cup for sale. At the London Coffee Festival earlier in the year I picked up a Huskup, a reusable cup I hadn’t heard of before, and it was good to see they had a stand here too. Lots of people were walking around with reusable coffee cups, and many stands had biodegradable or recyclable cups, so hopefully there wasn’t too much coffee cup waste from the event.

I discovered a few new roasters, including Dusty Ape coffee, and Manumit Coffee, an organisation working with people affected by modern slavery, providing training and employment opportunities.

Coffee festivals are  great way to celebrate and showcase whats happening locally in the coffee industry, and a really nice addition in the Coffee House Project bag was the Best Coffee specialty coffee map of Bristol. Trying different coffee shops is a great way to explore a city.  I’ll definitely be using this to try new places next time I’m in Bristol.

There were many more highlights to the festival than what’s included here, but this is all I have time to write about at the minute. The Coffee House Project has definitely been one of my favourite coffee festival so far, not only because of the venue, the great coffee, but because of the friendliness of everyone we met. Hopefully the Coffee House Project will be back next year.



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Coventry’s First Coffee Festival: Fargo Coffee Festival

There’s a growing number of coffee festivals taking place across the UK (and in other countries too), with many starting to emerge in smaller towns and cities. The weekend of 15th and 16th September saw the first coffee festival taking place in Coventry’s Fargo Village. The Fargo Coffee Festival was an event which showcased some of the regions coffee highlights including local roasters and coffee shops, as well as other coffee and coffee shop related organisations, such as the Independent Coffee Club, Midlands.

It was held in the indoor space just as you enter Fargo Village, for a very reasonable £1 entry!

Fargo Coffee Festival Coventry

As you entered the event there was a seating area where there was some live music playing, and plenty of tables to sit around and enjoy the coffee and atmosphere.

Fargo Coffee Festival Coventry

Then into the main hall there were range of different stands includng the main sponsors of the event Java Lounge, and Backhaus & Co. They were doing some latte art demonstrations and there seemed to be plenty of filter coffee being prepared. It was good to see one of my favourite midlands roasters at the event, Monsoon Estates Coffee Company, as well as Ed’s Coffee House which I’ve often visited on Coventry market.

I also had the opportunity to try a Kenyan filter coffee from a roaster I hadn’t heard about before – New Era coffee. The tasting notes suggested there should be hints of rose florals, lime and milk chocolate  – a very nice V60 to finish my visit to the festival.

A great addition to the suite of events that take place at Fargo Village in Coventry, I hope it’s one that stays in the calendar for next year to showcase more of what’s happening in coffee in the midlands.

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