Bologna and Venice are both old towns with a wealth of historic culture, but they’re both distinctly different. One a university town full of youth, progressive ideals and a love of food and the other a maritime powerhouse full of beauty, canals and tourists. They wouldn’t be Italian though, without a love of espresso and chocolate and both help to cater to their devotees in different ways. Bologna providing traditional Italian coffeebar culture to its discerning patrons and Venice providing the locals with a very Italian respite from the heavy impressions of non native feet. If you look closely, it’s not too hard to find these hidden gems as you explore the cities history and culture.
Starting in Bologna and getting in late, we arose in the morning to head out for our first introduction to northern Italian coffee. Continue reading →
Just a step outside of Oslo’s Mathallen building is a coffee shop that owes its name to Henrik Ibsen a Norwegian playwright and poet and the universally beloved Jimi Hendrix, which I guess speaks of both home and music a theme that encompasses this cafe. Entering the place, it feels like a hangout space, walls lined in equal parts by records, art and bags of retail coffee beans, with nothing looking out of place. Continue reading →
There’s a dedication to coffee in Oslo that you don’t often see in other cities, where the coffee itself is the thing that is respected and revered. At times it feels like you’re more likely to find a specialty coffee shop than you are a second wave coffee chain and while you might find coffeeshops selling cocktails, tea and even records, the main focus is always on the coffee. There’s no avocado instagram lifestyle with coffee as the afterthought here, just seasonally roasted coffee and casual but informed service. In a country where the Janteloven is still heavily woven into their culture these coffeeshops might downplay their successes and achievements, but with Norwegians drinking more coffee than everyone except the Finnish, it’s maybe not surprising to find that they place it on such a high pedestal.
The day was ebbing into its later stages and it seemed like the perfect opportunity to slowly make my way from coffee into alcohol via the convenient route of coffee liqueur. So I swung by the Mr Black stand to try some of their light enveloping black magic. Made from distilled grain alcohol – that’s Vodka to you and me – and blended with cold pressed coffee, Mr black produces a liqueur that’s sweet and light with distinct flavours of dark roast espresso and a lifting edge of citrus. Mentally considering its uses for coffee in good spirits competitions, I headed off to find some more liqueur. Continue reading →
There comes a point at London Coffee Festival where you just need a cup of water – for which the Project Waterfall stand is always a trusted friend – or some ice cream, something to take the edge off, to level you out a little and calm those encroaching caffeine shakes. At such times, who am I to ignore the luring pull of the True Artisan Café and its signature drinks. Continue reading →
I used to live in Nottingham, but as I and Outpost Coffee will attest there was no good coffee there at that time – not that I would have been trying to drink it back then anyway, if I’m being entirely honest. Things have changed now, fortunately, although not for me as I still hadn’t had the opportunity of trying any decent coffee roasted in Nottingham, although now – crossing Outpost Coffee’s path – was as good a time as any to remedy that fact. Approaching the stand I was met by an excitable Harley, who was more than eager to introduce me to their Rwanda Kilimbi lot. Continue reading →
With over 30,000 in attendance both this and last year London Coffee Festival appears to be growing year on year, which is pretty reassuring given that half of the ticket sales go to Project Waterfall. Having covered the previous two years worth of events here on the blog, I took a gamble and applied for a press pass for this years’ event, with the hope of gaining a bit more flexibility to browse the festival at leisure and take a bit more time to seek out some of the more unfamiliar – to me at least – exhibitors around the building. Having been successful in my application it allowed me to pick and choose which day to go down and so this year I thought I’d try out one of the industry days and headed down on the Friday, in the hope of landing on a slightly quieter day, although I’m not entirely sure there are any ‘quieter’ days at London Coffee Festival anymore. Continue reading →