It’s been a few years since I’ve written about the London Coffee Festival, even though every April, without fail, I am there. Now in its eight year, the festival is an unmissable event for those working in the coffee industry and anyone who loves coffee. This year I had the opportunity to attend the show with Faema and learn about their newest espresso machine, the beautiful E71E.
The London Coffee Festival 2018
There is always lots to see, do and DRINK at the London coffee festival and this year was no different. Actually, the festival just gets bigger every year. At this edition, they unveiled a whole new floor of The Old Truman Brewery to explore. The festival is on for four days and – based on my experience – Friday or Sunday morning are the best times to visit and beat the crowds.
A few days before the festival, I received an invitation to visit the Faema stand and preview their new professional espresso machine: FAEMA E71E.
Faema is a historic Italian brand that has been making machines at a factory near Milan since 1945. The E71E machine is a top-of-the-range professional espresso machine and the follow up to the much-loved E71 (the first time I saw the E71 was at World of Coffee in Dublin two years ago).
While the E71E uses the same technology of the E71, the user interface is completely new and designed to fulfil the needs of specialty coffee baristas. For example, there are longer steam wands, allowing a barista to work by the edge of the machine, leaving space behind the grouper for two baristas to pull espresso shots side-by-side. It makes a difference for cafés working with high volumes and at a fast pace.
When I visited the Faema stand, I also had the pleasure to meet Simon Lewthwaite from Caravan Coffee Roasters. Faema machines are used at all Caravan cafés in London, so naturally Simon is an expert of their machines.
He showed me in detail all the functionalities of the new Faema E71E and even offered me the chance to try out the machine. I couldn’t miss the chance to make a cappuccino like a real barista!
Professional espresso machines can be intimidating if you’ve never used them before. And since there are only two E71E available in the UK at the moment (ahead of its official launch later this year), I was a little bit scared to do something wrong. I shouldn’t have worried: the E71E is really user-friendly and intuitively easy to use. The E71E was built to achieve consistency in the shots, so even an unexperienced barista like me has a chance to pull a perfect espresso.
I practiced my latte art using the E71E extended steam wands. Thankfully, I am getting a little bit better at latte art after many years of practicing, so my performance in front of experienced barista wasn’t half bad.
While I usually practice at home, steaming milk on a professional espresso machine – such as the Faema E71E – is a whole new ball game! I loved that you can choose between two steam settings, to adjust the amount of steam coming out the wand, depending on how big or small the milk pitcher you are using is.
Do you want to know the secret to beautiful latte art? It’s about getting the milk steamed just right without over-frothing. And then…lots of practice to learn how to swirl the pitcher and pour the milk to create different designs. Baristas make it look a lot easier than it actually it!
Faema and Coffee Masters
Faema E71 was the machine of choice for the Coffee Masters, a global barista competition which every year sees 24 contenders in compete against each other for the title, showing off their skills in seven disciplines: cupping, brewing, latte art, order, signature drink, espresso blend, origin.
The winner of this year’s Coffee Masters was Agnieszka Rojewska, a barista so talented that the awards on her CV are honestly too many to list here. Just to name a few, she is Poland Barista Champion, Poland Latte Art Champion and New York Coffee Masters finalist.
Scenes from the London Coffee Festival 2018
I spent the rest of the day walking around the festival, every so often bumping into friends from the coffee world. It’s so lovely to meet the same people at trade events in different cities around the world. It makes me feel part of a big, beautiful community.
It was great to see many speciality coffee roasters coming from out of London to showcase their blends and single origins at the festival, like Outpost Coffee Roasters from Nottingham, HMC Coffee from Italy, Five Elephant from Berlin.
Among the coffee drinks I tasted and loved was a cold brew from Union Roast, a cappuccino from The Roasting Shed and espresso martini from Terrone Coffee. Taylors was also there: as you know, I am currently working on a project with the Harrogate coffee brand and Creating for Good to raise money for Women for Women International.
Overall, I thought there was a great balance of small and independent coffee brands and more established coffee companies.
With my VIP ticket, I had access to the new and extended lounge on the second floor. The spacious area with comfy sofas, long tables, a bar serving cocktails all day long and a DJ was the perfect place to rest after all the walking around.
Finally, it was great to see Islington’s sensation Pophams Bakery selling pastries at the Bake for Syria stand. Profits went in support of Unicef NextGeneration, a global initiative that bring together young professionals committed to helping transform the lives of the world’s most vulnerable children.
This completes my diary from The London Coffee Festival 2018. Thank you Faema for inviting me. See you next year!
Disclaimer: this post was written in partnership with Faema. All opinions are my own.