Well, I've seen and done a few exciting things lately, all worthy of a mention, but I'm starting with this because it's the most recent. Yesterday in fact. Yup, I went to the very hip and trendy Shoreditch (Brick Lane no less) in order to attend the even more hip and trendy London Coffee Festival.
I went because I love coffee and I have really been starting to get in to the different methods of brewing, roasts of bean, flavours and places all involved with coffee. Also it looked like a ridiculous amount of fun that was bound to be bountiful with freebies.
I was not wrong. Between the Blue Mountain Jamaican coffee (Oh my God good!!), the multiple chocolate samples from Green and Black's and Lindt (ended up buying the new Strawberry Intense flavour) and goodness knows what else, I was pretty much vibrating around the Old Truman Brewery for three hours straight.
The place was packed with all sorts of people wandering between the different zones. The main showroom, nicknamed Hyde Park was where you were most likely to get free samples, as well as some unbelievable Italian gelato from Gelupo. I was more than happy to pay for my scoops of pistachio, and sour cherry and ricotta. Heaven.
On arriving however, I grabbed my espresso Martini and headed for The Lab, where Robert Thurston was giving a lecture on 'Drugging the American housewife: calming agents and marketing from opiates to "me time" with coffee'. Personally my knowledge of feminism and cultural history is skewed towards America anyway (despite me being English) but it was something I had not stumbled across before. Yet more ammunition in the cultural struggle to apparently keep women isolated and pressured into feeling pressured. Sad really, but good to have my eyes opened yet a little wider.
Next was the Soho area. Artisan coffee makers doing their thing under some atmospheric red fairy lights.
Ok, this is where, despite having had a lot of little samples, I decided to pay £4 for a proper cup of Ozone Coffee Roaster coffee. Yes that's expensive, but I had set aside my budget for enjoying the day, and it was in it. And I am glad - it was so smooth and utterly delectable.
I'll be honest at this point. If this account sounds a little disjointed it is because I genuinely did have so much caffeine and sugar that I started going a little loopy. It was not a bad loopy, but it makes for a skippy, trippy retelling of my excellent time.
So, I will end by saying that along with the fun, the tastings, the smiles and the atmosphere, I also learned something I think is actually useful. I had been reading a lot lately about the V60 or Hario. So named because the cup through which you brew the coffee is angled at 60 degrees. I walked up to the Hario stand, and I asked the rep, ok, so what is so special about this method? Why is the coffee better? And why is everyone talking about it?
Answer: "It's mostly just a trend."
I kid you not - that is the answer I got. I didn't buy one. A little later I came across the Make Decent Coffee stand, where they were giving demonstrations on how to make good coffee at home. I watched the Aeropress demonstration and tasted the resulting coffee. Wow. No grinds or powder and a smooth rich taste. It's small, portable, easy and quick. So my birthday wish list for the end of this month just got a dramatic rewrite, and attending something for fun and frolics turned out saving me from a pricey (albeit trendy) coffee purchasing disaster. Not too shabby.
I'll leave you with a little gallery of lovelies, which I found beautiful and exciting to see.