I always treat this event in a much more holistic way than simply visiting another exhibition about coffee.
The event really starts from the moment we leave our hotel and make our way across London to the Brick Lane venue. London is such a fascinating city with its diverse cultures and incredible buildings, that it really is worthwhile spending time just absorbing the energy of this incredible metropolis.  
The Truman Brewery venue setting is very “hipster” if that’s a thing? I love the internal layout which offers little compromise when it comes to efficient use of exhibitor space. As for the customer, well let’s just say it’s a “challenging” venue to get around.
There seemed to be more live music than in previous years. The artist in residence Rory Wynn appeared to have free reign across the whole venue, again something new for this season. I mentioned at the start of this blog about the holistic nature of this event; this approach to music, art and coffee made it feel like one giant coffee shop in which we all played our part.
It’s always interesting to see how fashions change. A few years back it was all about booze and Nitro-brew coffee, then came Wally a revolutionary way of steaming milk automatically. This year there was a lot of noise around the latest La Marzocco coffee grinder and cold brew coffee using anaerobically fermented coffee. Marketing gimmick or the future of the speciality coffee industry? I’ll get back to you next year.
But of course, like all good coffee shops, it’s not just about coffee. There was more than a smattering of chai, tea infusions, canned and bottled cold drinks. Health is the biggest theme around all these products, presumably because coffee is so bad for you!
Clearly there are always going to be a shed load of coffee machines on offer and more tatts than I’ve had hot dinners. I know coffee is complicated, but this takes it to a new level. Not sure though how many commuters appreciate the subtle molasses nuances as they fight their way onto an overcrowded train whilst having their nose thrust into someone’s armpit. Such are the joys of the London travel experience.
The big takeaway is how incredibly interesting the industry is. The humble coffee drink is such a leveller and yet tackles both global and local issues. From the community of a coffee shop to the challenge of where the next coffee bean will come from if we don’t look after our planet. Educating without even trying, now that’s the best type of school.  
And so we left the show with a load of brochures and promises to keep in touch. I purchased a few prints for our cafes and bought an odd looking steaming jug to see if my latte art could be saved. Another year over but with the knowledge that there is so much energy in our industry and that coffee can save the world one cup at a time.

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