On Saturday 3rd December, La Marzocco hosted Out of the Box at Hackney House, London. The Out of the Box events allow La Marzocco to connect with the local coffee community, wherever they are held across the globe. We were so honoured to welcome around 1000 registered guests through the doors on this one day event. We filled the day’s schedule with lots of content focused on both the members of the speciality coffee community as well as keen coffee enthusiasts just starting to delve deeper into the speciality scene.

Split across three levels at the fantastic Hackney House, each floor offered rich and diverse experiences. On the ground floor, we exhibited the Strada AV and allowed guests to get hands on with the machine and discover why the machine won ‘New Product of the Year’ at The Café Life Awards. Event sponsors Northiam Dairy served espresso ice-cream made especially for the event whilst Espresso Solutions ran the popular E-Store as well as The European True Artisan Café. Although the event took place in London, we are lucky to be connected to roasteries across Europe and had the pleasure of serving 14 different European roasters. A big thanks to Coutume and Café Lomi from Paris, Badger & Dodo and Khanya Craft Coffee from Dublin, Ditta Artigianale and Caffé Mokarico from Florence, The Coffee Collective from Copenhagen, Koppi Fine Coffee Roasters from Helsinborg, Tim Wendelboe from Oslo, Nomad Coffee from Barcelona, Café Taf from Athens, Probador Colective from Istanbul and 42 Coffee from Budapest. Between all these roasters, over 35 kilos of coffee was served from 6 Linea Mini’s!

With sponsors Grey Goose Vodka, Union Hand Roasted Coffee, BWT Water, Northiam Dairy and Loveramics, Out of the Box hosted the finals of the SCAEUK Coffee in Good Spirits and Latte Art Championships.  These competitions continue to draw in big and supportive crowds and for those who couldn’t make the event, the competition was livestreamed across the globe.

On the first floor, guests were treated to five industry panels that covered topics that are integral to the coffee community; from ethical green coffee sourcing to global brand management. In Brand & Deliver, Joey Medrington from Grey Goose, James Healey from Marco Beverage Systems, Daniel Thompson of Soho House & Co as well as La Marzocco’s Paul Kelly, sat down to discuss how to maintain the heart of an independent company as the company grows into a global brand. Media Partner Caffeine Magazine ran the second panel entitled Maximising Modern Media. Founder Scott Bentley invited filmmakers and coffee enthusiasts Celeste Wong, Tim Rogg and Jason Breckenridge up on stage to examine how to capture coffee experiences across print publications, social media channels, webseries and short form films. Matt Slater, International Re:co Symposium Director, ran an exclusive panel called Re:co Under the Spotlight. Matt was joined on stage by three Re:co ‘fellows’ as they discussed the Re:co symposium and how it brings inspiring and challenging ideas to the coffee community in order to seek real change. Following this was Profile of a Profiler in which roasters Anne Lunell of Koppi Fine Coffee Roasters and Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood of Colonna Coffee were joined by panellists from a more tech based background; Andy Benedikter from software specialists Cropster and Bradley Nelson from event partners, IKAWA coffee. This panel focused on the before, during and after process of coffee roasting, including sourcing green coffee and using technology to ensure that the final coffee roast is the best it can be. Event partners Falcon Coffees, rounded off the day by asking ‘Do you really know who grows your coffee’ in The UK Modern Slavery Act panel. Falcon Coffees CEO, Konrad Brits, was joined on stage by head of Falcon Specialty, Mike Riley as well as Violeta Stevens, Director of Supply Chain at Union Hand Roasted Coffee.  This final panel rounded off the day by making the coffee community face the cold hard facts surrounding green coffee growing and sourcing. Our industry is based on quality relationships but the distance between origin and consumer can make us naïve to growing conditions in certain regions. With cooperation and communication, we have the power to drive change.

Event partners Marco Beverage Systems brought their newest technologies to Out of the Box and served some fantastic filter coffees whilst UK roasters Clifton Coffee, Coffee by TATE and Terrone served up a storm on the Modbar. Dressed in its Christmas finest, the first floor outside terrace offered the chance to get competitive at the La Marzocco Foosball table, enjoy a beer at the customised Linea Mini and GS3 beer machines and fill your belly with tasty treats on the Linea Classic Barbecue with the Cheeky Italian.

The second floor was focused on roasting and cupping quality coffee as event partners IKAWA Coffee ran roasting demonstrations and drop in sessions whilst Falcon Coffees ran cuppings that allowed guests to try some spectacular coffee from Africa and Central and South America.

After a day full of content, the evening saw La Marzocco throw the official Out of the Box Christmas After-Party. This was kicked off with the announcement of the winners of the SCAE UK Coffee in Good Spirits and Latte Art Championships. We’d like to congratulate Origin Coffee’s Paul Ross for snatching the crown for Coffee in Good Spirits and Dhan Tamang from Coffee Lab for winning his fifth consecutive title as Latte Art Champion. Following this, La Marzocco did the big prize giveaway that saw the crowd win t-shirts and other La Marzocco goodies with the big three prizes being an IKAWA coffee home roaster, a La Marzocco customised road bike and finally, a trip to Florence to visit the La Marzocco factory. Congratulations to all the winners!

La Marzocco’s favourite UK band, The Super Luckies provided live music and lots of dancing on the ground floor whilst the party continued until the early hours with a Christmas disco upstairs.

Besides allowing us to host a social event where people can connect, Out of the Box allowed the community to focus on new technologies, discuss industry centric topics and to exhibit the best the speciality scene has to offer.

We’d like to thank Hackney House for having us as well as event partners Espresso Solutions, Falcon Coffees, Grey Goose, IKAWA coffee, Marco Beverage Systems, Northiam Dairy and Caffeine Magazine. Thanks to BWT, Union Hand Roasted Coffee and Loveramics and thanks to all the wonderful roasters who had coffee served on the True Artisan Café as well as on the Marco and Modbar stations. Thanks to Cheeky Italian and Beyond the Bean as well as Well Grounded and their fantastic volunteers. Most importantly, we’d like to thank everyone who came to Out of the Box; the event would not have been the success it was without your continued support. Merry Christmas to you all!

Photos by Nathan Taylor