London Coffee Festival

Things to do , Food and drink events
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(15 user reviews)
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Go ballistic on the best beans in town as the LCF returns

Returning for 2016, the London Coffee Festival is the UK’s largest coffee and artisan food event, a celebration of London's vibrant coffee culture featuring gourmet coffee, speciality tea, artisan food, demonstrations from world-class baristas, live music and a comprehensive ‘lab’ seminar programme that will educate even the keenest of coffee lovers. Visitors can learn about the various ways to make and brew coffee at home, taste signature drinks and explore the Milk & Sugar area featuring fashion, design and food events.

After two industry days on April 7-8, the festival kicks off its public events on the evening of April 8 along with an ‘Espresso Martini Launch Party’ (8-10pm). On Sat 9  and Sun 10, tickets are available for three-hour sessions: brunch (10am-1pm), lunch (1-4pm) and tea (4-7pm). 

The festival is once again the flagship event of UK Coffee Week and 2016 highlights include the Speciality Coffee Association of Europe's UK Barista Championships and The School of Chocolate hosted by Hotel Chocolat where visitors can learn all about the art of chocolate making and pairing. Rachel's Organic Milk Bar will be running live latte art masterclasses and the Scandinavian Embassy will be serving up delicious food in their pop-up restaurant. 

Average User Rating

3.9 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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  • 4 star:13
  • 3 star:2
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  • 1 star:1
LiveReviews|15
2 people listening
Nicole R
1 of 1 found helpful

I just left the coffee festival pretty disappointed. Too over crowded, LOUD, and confusing. I wandered around feeling like there was coffee, coffee everywhere but not a drop to drink. Good event for a certain type, but I wouldn't recommend it for the chill coffee drinker. I won't be going back.

Diana T
Tastemaker

Having gone to this event on the Trade days as well as the Consumer days it was a really strange event. If you spent your time getting to know the different stand holders and trying the variety of products you would have had a good time. My favourite stands were the ones that were not directly coffee related. The chai tea exhibitors had loads of tasters and were very passionate about their products. As were the people from Starbucks and Pukka Herbs. 


The crowds were very overwhelming on the consumer days, were really people were just paying to get into a space where they would then spend more money. What made it worthwhile was the variety of music acts and the fact that they got to know new smaller brands. I really enjoyed talking to a small soft drink company based in Scotland that I never would have heard of before the event. 


Hopefully there'll be fewer complaints about crowding in the next editions of this show, because I really think its a good way to show appreciation for a craft that is an integral part of many people's lives. 

Kritt N
Tastemaker

Who loves coffee? If you do (and I suspect it’s about 99% of the working population), then this is an unmissable event for you. And it doesn’t disappoint as The Old Truman Brewery is transformed into coffee heaven.



Held in East London’s Shoreditch for this year’s festival and spread over 2 floors, you’ll learn and experience everything to do with everyone’s favourite caffeinated beverage. There are 250 artisan coffee stalls to visit, live demonstrations to ooohhh and ahhh at, free sample to try, whirring coffee machines to play with and food stalls to tuck into when you’re feeling peckish inside the utterly enormous former brewery house, all uniquely organised into different zones. You won’t leave feeling uncaffeinated or hungry. The usual suspects will be there like Starbucks, T2 and Baileys.



It’s bright, bustling, fun, lively but busy. So be that person first through the door so you can experience the festival in relative leisure before the stampede that killed Mufasa arrives. It’s an incredibly popular event as you probably guessed (over 20,000 coffee lovers descended on the festival last year) so start queuing way before the actual opening time (unless you have a VIP pass, you lucky bugger).



I was lucky to have my name on the guest list for the Food & Coffee pairing session run by the Scandinavian Embassy. Three gourmet seafood courses  with artisan coffee. What’s not to like? Expect something similar at next year's festival. It’s for those with those reckon they bleed coffee. But it does come with a hefty price per person.



Once you’re done with all that coffee, check out the Milk & Sugar zone which showcases the most inspirational brands in lifestyle and fashion. Go on, take something home as a souvenir.



A caffeine-fuelled fun and lively festival, a good way to spend the weekend with a fellow coffee lover.

Kirsty S
tastemaker

Some really fun things, but the organisers need to do more if they want to deliver a valuable event to the consumer , rather than a trade show.


Big advice, you need to arrive early to get in the queue, you can be left outside in the rain for a long time. The venue is cool, there are music rooms, tasting areas and workshops but I was left wondering how much consumer actually get out of the event - there's only so much time you can be pitched a new coffee machine! More tastings, workshops and chill out areas with music for it to be the festival vibe please!


The highlight of my day was the Coffee and Food paring. Fantastic flavours - coffee with seafood is something I wouldn't traditionally try but I really enjoyed the new flavours. Scallops., Oysters, Ethiopian Coffee and Swedish GIn.. who would have thought it!! A wonderful new experience, delivered with VIP flair really made me feel special and something I won't forget in a hurry!

Vishaal V
Tastemaker

Most interesting for those with an interest in the coffee trade, as you get to speak to lots of established and rising stars in the field. For mere coffee fans it is also fun but there is a limit to how much coffee you can sample. There were some non-coffee related distractions such as live music, chocolate stalls and talks. Can get through the whole thing in about 2 hours, but allow longer if attending talks. 

Georgie
Tastemaker

 If you absolutely adore your coffee and you're precious about your blends, varieties and brewing methods, you're in for an absolute treat at this festival. However if you're usually just happy with a nice frothy coffee from your local independent, quite a fair bit of this festival will be lost on you.


We arrived yesterday morning and walked past a queue of a few hundred people deep as we made our way to where those with VIP tickets were entering. We walked into the room where seating was provided along with jugs of water and a bar could be found - this was the VIP section and to be honest, it was a disappointment. Other than a few places to sit, it wasn't anything special. VIP tickets retail at about £65 each but it's difficult to tell how this price can be justified.


Admittedly the VIP tickets included a tasting experience which saw Scandinavian dishes pairs with different varieties of coffee blends and brews. This was mostly seafood including mussels, oysters and herring. I checked and this experience could be purchased separately to your ticket at a cost of £35. For the portion sizes (1 oyster, 1 mussel, 1 clam, 1 scallop & some beetroot chopped with herring) I know if I had paid for this, i'd have been extremely disappointed and likely very annoyed that i'd shelled out that amount of money when it was pitched as a 3 course pairing menu, and I left absolutely starving (and hadn't had breakfast in anticipation of a large brunch style meal!) The coffee pairings were interesting but not delicious - many of the complex flavours lost on me.


Walking around the festival its easy to find something for every coffee fan, including cocktails created by Baileys, latte art workshops, competitions, talks and most importantly, tastings - though they were few and far between if truth be told. I expected every stand ready and raring to offer out tasters of their coffee in an attempt to generate custom but in many cases we found they were simply trying to sell you a coffee. But that's not to say I wasn't having heart palpitations by noon from the coffee i'd had with the pairing and the one of two samples I had tried.


There were some amazing stalls not serving coffee but rather brands you'd associate with coffee - tate and lyle were showcasing their syrups, Biscoff were handing out small tubs of their biscuit spread (which i scooped into my mouth with my fingers) and interesting app companies were showing how technology is revolutionising the way we can access coffee and discover new cafes in London. 


Starbucks were launching their new tea brand which will be hitting the several million stores in London in the Summer (hate to admit it but they've done well creating a really funking new side brand which I quite liked and am now looking forward to enjoying - Matcha lattes, tis the future!) Alongside them Hotel Chocolat were demo-ing their hot chocolate ranges and even their unusual snacks - chocolate spiced jerky and there were even a few clothes and accessory stands which had zero to do with coffee.


It was absolutely packed by 10.30am but we didn't find accessing the stands was too stressful. We initially wondered how anyone could spend the whole day at this festival, but it's certainly possible. There is so much to see, do and try and you could leave with a new favourite style of coffee. Me, I left with the shakes and a strange feeling of exhaustion... and i'm already looking forward to returning next year.

Sarah (kukkiiandkoppee)
Tastemaker

I bought tickets for the brunch (10am-1pm) slot and there was a queue down the street, around the block and all the way down another street, and another. Despite that, the queue was moving pretty quickly and we were assured that we wouldn't be kicked out at 1pm. 


We were handed a little tote bag then just followed our noses around. It was a sensory overload: in taste, smell, sight and sound. Sometimes touch too as it did get quite crowded as time went by. There are a lot of stalls including coffee roasters, coffee shops, suppliers and manufacturers of all sorts of coffee equipment. And it's not just coffee; there are also chocolate, tea, cake, juice, soft drink, water suppliers and more. Most stalls have some sort of freebies or tasters and some may also offer food or drink for a small fee. I was taken aback with just how much was up for grabs. I was here as a espresso lover and was after tips on milk steaming and latte art. I also wanted to smell out some more coffee roasters - they were definitely not short in supply. With suppliers from all over the country present, we were definitely spoilt for choice.


Some tips for next year:

i) bring cash - not all take card

ii) don't eat and drink everything you see - I was high on caffeine and we didn't even make it half way around yet

iii) try coffee from as many places as possible before you settle on buying beans 

Neil K
Tastemaker

If you are seriously into coffee, and have a healthy appetite for everything even vaguely coffee related then you will be in your element; but for the casual coffee connoisseur who enjoys the relaxing side of taking a break while enjoying good coffee then you could find it all a bit much. The quality of the event as a whole is unquestionably high, though it is busy, and there is a limit to how much coffee one can feasibly savour before becoming concerned about not sleeping for the immediate future!

The tasting menu consisted of fresh seafood served with alcoholic accompaniments all with a coffee twist, which was refreshingly different, delicious and of fine quality, though is of additional cost and priced accordingly.

All in all a high calibre event to the serious enthusiast, but with less on offer for the casual day tripper.

James L

Absolutely atrocious! Do not waste your time or money on this.

Tickets were for select periods throughout the day. Arrived just as ours commenced and the queue was round the block! When we finally got in after 25min of queuing and being shouted at to "have our tickets in our hands", worst fears confirmed...COMPLETELY oversold, so it was both ridiculously hot & far too busy to be able to move or take anything in. I paid for the standard ticket and feel utterly ripped off - so glad I didn't go for VIP! All this is is a collection of coffee sellers and retailers of coffee parafinalia - they should be paying guests to wonder round.

Christian G

Extremely crowded on Saturday afternoon. We waited for 25 minutes in a 300 meter queue outside the building. Also extremely noisy and unpleasant inside. Push and shove. It didn't live up to its hype. Great if you expect a dance club atmosphere or have a craving for Bank tube station during rush hour. Stressful and disappointing otherwise.

Rhian Williams

I was very drawn to this event as I love coffee but what is the clinching factor for me is the fact that it is supporting the charity Project Waterfall. I've just emailed a bunch of my friends to come along and support it all! I haven't been so am really looking forward to going along, especially knowing my money is going to a worthy cause!

Hannah Polly

A friend of mine went last year and has been going on about how great it was - definitely not missing out this year!

Laura G
0 of 1 found helpful
Tastemaker

Attention coffee afficionados, this is the place to be this weekend! With tickets that give access to unlimited coffee shots and more from London's top brewers, and all that's new and fresh in the caffeine word, the event still offers a selection of food stalls, chocolates, artisanal food and an amazing coffee pairing session with the Scandinavian Embassy folks. With lots of surprising ways of having coffee, this is a highlight well worth the extra 35 quid. Highly recommended!

Amy R
0 of 1 found helpful

This looks super amazing! 

I'm looking for someone to go with so if you're interested find me at www.wouldlovetogo.com 

and we can arrange something! :)

Earnie Stubbins
0 of 1 found helpful

Saturday and Sunday you can also visit Plant & Plant Ltd for vintage coffee pots and cups, and other china and glass to style up your table. In The Tea Rooms, Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane, 1 6RU