Despite the dreary weather, thousands of coffee enthusiasts flocked to the London Coffee Festival in Shoreditch between 20 and 23 April. The event played host to over 230 exhibitors, including cocktail masterclasses from Smirnoff, an extensive programme of industry talks and panels, and the Coffee Masters competition. More so, attendees witnessed the organisation’s signature Latte Art Live programme with demonstrations, competitions, and masterclasses from industry experts.
Let’s take a look at what roasters who were unable to attend can take away from the event…
The importance of improved technology along the supply chain
An important aspect of the event was the discussions that took place between industry experts. Insights varied from sustainability in coffee, the role of women in the industry, and the cost-of-living crisis to diversity, inclusion, and onboarding. More so, several discussions revolved around how to scale a coffee company successfully and the use of technology in the specialty coffee sector.
It became clear the development and use of technologies within coffee are essential to the future of the industry. One particular discussion between Andrea Londono, the partner’s manager at ALO and Matteo Vanotti, the founder, xFarm, highlighted how important blockchain is in supporting the evolution of the specialty coffee paradigm.
xFarm is a mobile app that was created by coffee farmers for coffee farmers. The app works as an agricultural management tool, helping producers save time and money, and enabling them to focus more on their crops. More so, the app allows farmers to manage their crops and land, inventory, logistics, documentation for free with premium features of precision farming, and finances. It is a digital farming revolution that is accessible to anyone with a smartphone or computer.
Coffee pods and home-brewing: Trends at the London Coffee Festival
Dualit was showcasing its latest development: home-compostable coffee pods. As one of the largest coffee pod brands in the UK, Dualit offers a private-label pod service to roasteries across the country. Until recently, its range was limited to aluminium and industrial compostable pods. That said, many tend to believe the brands’ industrial compostable pods failed to offer optimum freshness unless stored in a sealed bag. This may have been due to the materials used, and the fact that it is only able to decompose in a controlled environment.
Dualit now offers fully home-compostable pods, with optimum freshness and flavour thanks to an innovative flavour seal. The pods claim to break down in a garden compost or food waste bin in approximately 90 days. For roasters looking to develop their own home-compostable capsule range, Dualit can grind and package roasted coffee, or roast it for you at their state-of-the-art facilities.
In the realm of coffee machines, a standout of the show was the Morning Capsule. Compact, efficient, and stylish the machine boasts 10 ready-to-brew recipes and offers consumers access to an archive of recipes from the roasters themselves. More so, the machines allow consumers to create their own recipes and save them through the brands’ mobile app.
More so, the machine features a TDS meter to help calibrate the water to optimise brewing, pressure profiling options, and inbuilt scales. Morning has used technology to create a machine that provides consumers with the freedom to control all the variables of the brew, much like a barista in a cafe.
For a traditional home espresso machine, De Longhi showcased its La Specialista Maestro Hot & Cold Brew Bean to Cup Machine. The machine has a sensor to trigger eight grind settings and five temperature profiles for different types of beans, with the pre-infusion changing dependent on the density of the coffee grinds. Additionally, there is an automated tamper, as well as the option of automated or manual milk steaming. Most uniquely to this machine, it offers cold brew in under five minutes. Using its exclusive ‘Cold Extraction Technology’, the brand offers consumers the option for a cold espresso, using the ‘Espresso Cool’ option.
Compak was celebrating the launch of its BOLT grinder by hosting hands-on demonstrations of its timesaving technology. The BOLT is an on-demand coffee grinder, with up to three instant doses or two pre-doses saved and pre-ground. In the case of a busy cafe, this can reduce the coffee dosing from over six seconds to one second. Essentially, it offers ideal distribution of the coffee through its ergonomic chute. Plus, with a high-tech interface, the grinder is able to track the wear of the burrs and indicate when they need replacing. It also offers easy access to the grinding chamber for cleaning without disrupting the grind size.
Additionally, Compak has a roaster app that connects to the grinder using Wi-Fi. This allows the grinder to be placed on a server so the data collected can be shared. This is a game changer for roasteries offering servicing plans to cafes, as they will be able to remotely track the use of the grinder and when a service is due.
Brewing green coffee: The latest health kick?
The final thing that stood out at the coffee festival was Lomitas Green Coffee. The company was set up by Shirley Maya on her return from a holiday in Colombia. During her trip, she drank raw green coffee and learnt about the supposed health benefits that come from the beans before being “lost” in the roasting process. Lomitas sell green coffee for consumers to brew as a health-conscious drink that is high in caffeine and antioxidants, namely chlorogenic acid. Chlorogenic acid is considered a beneficial addition to a healthy lifestyle, mainly used to lose weight and lower blood pressure. Research suggests it may also help lower blood sugar, improve mood, and help with infections.
The brand uses washed green coffee and grinds the beans using a food processor. This is then blended with other herbs, such as mint and turmeric, to give a drink that resembles green tea with its herbal flavours. For roasters, this may be another potential revenue stream with the growth of the health market. For example, roasters could sell unroasted coffee to clients who are looking to consume a natural healthy drink.
The London Coffee Festival, and others like it, are a fantastic way for roasters to gain insight into the industry and execute market research while keeping abreast of where the industry is heading. It is essential for roasters to understand the trends, technologies, and new developments to be able to plan for the future of their businesses and gain a foothold in the market. The key takeaways from this year’s festival were the use of technology to improve not only business productivity and quality but also home brewing for customers.
As a sustainable packaging provider, MTPak Coffee also understands the importance of attending events such as PRF and the London Coffee Festival and is dedicated to taking a more hands-on approach. In addition to working closely with our packaging clients, MTPak Coffee is committed to supporting coffee producers at origin.
While participating in PRF El Salvador 2023, MTPak Coffee founder, Mark Zhou was honoured to take part in the Sourcing Trip Experience (STE) in order to develop a greater understanding of the supply chain, as well as the importance of direct trade with farmers.
Furthermore, we offer a range of customisable coffee boxes made from 100% recycled cardboard. These are ideal options for roasters who wish to test out a new design without overwhelming customers. Choose from renewable materials such as kraft paper, rice paper, or multilayer LDPE packaging with an environmentally friendly PLA lining.
Learn more about which events you should attend as a roaster to ensure your business remains competitive and successful in an ever-evolving industry.