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After opening its doors for the first time in 2011, The London Coffee Festival was back this April for its seventh year. Sprawling across slightly more of The Old Truman Brewery than previous years, the event schedule was jam packed and attendee numbers continue to show the ever-growing coffee culture within the UK. Looking back, it’s safe to say that it was bigger and better than ever before.

La Marzocco have been involved with The London Coffee Festival since its inception and it continues to be a date on the calendar that not only the UK team look forward to, but the global La Marzocco family too. It allows us to connect with people from throughout the industry over the four-day event, but what makes it so special is the way we can connect with customers, users and consumers alike…

The True Artisan Café:

A firm favourite for event visitors, previously winning the title of ‘Favourite Key Feature’ at the London Coffee Festival Awards, this year there were 36 fabulous participants who took part in The True Artisan Café. We also had music on the stand throughout the event this year. Live acts played from open doors until the late afternoon and DJ’s played sets for the final part of each day.

As in previous years, participants had to create a signature drink for the event which was very atypical of their style and tastes. The only stipulation? Espresso must be used in the drink and all ingredients must be safe and legal to use. This gave lots of free rein when creating the drinks leading to a vast range of flavours and ingredients. These included (non-alcoholic) flavour infused flat whites whose taste notes matched up to pastry tasters on offer. There was also short alcoholic cocktails that consisted of espresso, ice cream, mezcal, coffee liquor and whisky. There are too many to list off but you can still read the list of drinks here.

Event visitors were encouraged to make donations for these signature drinks, with all proceeds going toward the events official charity of choice: Project Waterfall. To date, donations at the True Artisan Café has raised over £10,000 for the charity.

In the past, we used the True Artisan Café as a way of letting our roaster partners showcase their businesses. As the industry grows, and these roasteries expand, the True Artisan Café allows us to switch focus to their customers. Now it provides a space for them to showcase what they are doing in a dynamic and unusual fashion whilst promoting their roasters coffee and the relationship these cafes and roasters have built.

Participants got an even bigger treat this year as they were either working on the Modbar or they got to be some of the first users on the brand new Strada AV ABR. Last year we used the event to unveil the newest addition to the Strada family; the Strada AV. This year, following on from the success of the Strada AV and the Linea PB ABR, the Strada AV now is available with the ABR (auto brew ratio) feature.  The London Coffee Festival was the perfect setting to showcase this. To make it even more exciting, we had these dream machines customised for the event. They sat upon our custom bar in glorious teal and gold, to match our new and improved stand, with a gold number 90 emblazoned on it; our way of paying service to the milestone that La Marzocco is celebrating in 2017….

90th Pop Up Stand:

2017 sees La Marzocco celebrating its 90th anniversary with celebrations planned across the globe at different times throughout the year. For The London Coffee Festival, we had a bespoke pop up stand made, which we added to our space in The Old Truman Brewery. Paying homage to Italian espresso bars, visitors could come to the pop up stand to take a seat, and respite, from all the event activity. They could also hear our 90th Anniversary ambassador, Ettore, talk about La Marzocco’s history. As an industry, we are continually looking to the future for burgeoning trends and innovations. The pop up allowed us to pay respect to our past achievements, most noticeably through the flawless replica of the first coffee machine manufacture in 1927 by Giuseppe Bambi; the Fiorenza.

A milestone like this wouldn’t be celebrated properly without a party and the Saturday evening saw us throw a big 90th birthday party at Juju’s Bar & Stage. We were honoured to see so many people show up to help us celebrate this. Fantastic weather allowed us to stay on the outside terrace sharing beers and breaking bread with food from The Cheeky Italian. That was until the call of 90’s house classics (from DJ Bert Gilbert) inside the venue was too strong to resist and we carried on the party on the dancefloor.

The Linea Mini Zone:

The last addition to our main stand was The Linea Mini Zone. We wanted to show how vast the world of coffee is, so we invited a range of different companies and personalities to make speciality coffee from the Linea Mini’s. These included 2017’s Irish Barista Champion and Proper Order Coffee Co. owner Niall Wynn, to spare parts and logistics company Espresso Solutions. There was also London roastery Terrone as well as Speciality Coffee Training Academy Well Grounded. We’ve been watching and working with Well Grounded since it started as London’s first social enterprise solely focused on developing talent within the speciality coffee industry. As always, we were happy to have them on board and proud to see the leaps and bounds the trainees have made since they started their training.

Roasters Village:

Due to its success at last year’s festival, we brought back The Roaster’s Village by La Marzocco.

Carrying on the theme of bigger and better, this year, The Roaster’s Village was split over two floors so we could fit in even more of the UK’s finest roasters for guests to engage with. These uber cool spaces showcased a vast range of roasters from across the U.K. all serving their finest coffees from a La Marzocco Linea Mini and Vulcano Grinder. Returning from their spots last year at the festival we had Origin Coffee Roasters, North Star Coffee Roasters, Butterworth and Son, Horsham Coffee RoasterSmall Batch Coffee Roasters, The Roasting Shed, Volcano Coffee Works and Clifton Coffee Roasters.

Also pulling espressos on La Marzocco’s Linea Mini were new (and very welcomed) additions: Outpost Coffee Roasters, Beanberry Coffee, St. Martin’s Coffee Roasters, Crankhouse Coffee and Curve Coffee Roasters.

Although the ultimate goal of exhibiting at London Coffee Festival is to expand the exposure of your brand and to connect with as many visitors as possible, an added bonus of the Roasters Village is that it allows Roasters to connect with one another. Another reminder of the open and inviting industry that we proudly work within.

The La Marzocco Kitchen:

Due to its popularity at events like designjunction and The Manchester Coffee Festival, we brought The La Marzocco Kitchen to London Coffee Festival for the first time, and what a resounding success it was. Prior to the event, guests could pre-book a 30 minute Home Barista course on a Linea Mini and Lux D Grinder in the kitchen. These pre-booked slots cost a small amount of £5 and all the money went towards Project Waterfall’s continued efforts. At 2017’s London Coffee Festival alone, the charity raised a whopping £112,000!

Home Barista trainees were lucky enough to be in the very capable hands of some astounding trainers from establishments such as London School of Coffee and Coffee Culture. We also had roasters Climpson and Sons as well as 7Gr. and the team from Onda Coffee Services. The home espresso revolution continues to roll on and to be able to spread coffee education whilst raising money for charity is an amazing opportunity.

VIP Secret Garden:

Another first outing at London Coffee Festival was for the VIP Secret Garden. This was our way of treating special guests to spot of sunshine and respite from all the content on offer inside The Old Truman Brewery.

Tucked away behind the upstairs Roasters Village, the Secret Garden allowed guests to enjoy a cocktail from one of London’s finest Cocktail Bars, The Gibson, with vodka (and garden furniture) provided by Grey Goose. Espresso Solutions set up a pop up La Marzocco Store with merchandise ranging from skateboards to socks. The team also kept guests fed by serving almost 1000 hot dogs from the Linea Classic BBQ all cooked by BBQ Chef Adelio.

La Marzocco Local:

We used the Festival to bring La Marzocco Local to London. La Marzocco Local allow the coffee world to meet up and chat all things coffee. The events are always open to all; roasters, baristas, coffee technicians, coffee drinkers, potential new café owners and avid coffee enthusiasts. With our official event partner IKAWA Coffee, we brought La Marzocco Local to Juju’s Bar & Stage on the Friday evening.  A big part of the evening was the Friday Night Throwdown. With more baristas signing up than ever before, the throwdown was the perfect evening activity. It wouldn’t have been the success it was without such a good crowd, enthusiastic competitors and great judges. Live music from The Thumping Tommies kept the pace going in between the rounds and the night ended with the crowning of Csaba as the Throwdown Champion.

We were delighted to be represented throughout the event by so many fantastic roasteries, café’s and other coffee centric businesses. Besides our own stands, we had equipment on other stands throughout the whole event. You can see some of these machines in the photo album below but we wanted to take this moment to thank everyone who used our machines and who spoke to visitors about your experiences using them.

With another year to wait until the next The London Coffee Festival, we’d like to thank every single person who came to the festival and engaged with La Marzocco across all the different areas we operated this year. As we celebrate our 90th anniversary, we look at the position we find ourselves in in 2017 and extend our gratitude to your continued support. Here’s to another 90 years! Grazie Mille.

Photo Credits courtesy of Joshua Redfearn and Daniele Roversi.