With a report last year finding that coffee could be our new superfood, there’s never been a better time to get your fix. This month especially there’s even more reason to embrace your caffeine cravings, with UK Coffee Week taking place from 16-22 April.
As well as the dozens of activities taking place across the country – which all raise money for a good cause – it’s the perfect opportunity to celebrate coffee in all its glory.
In this blog we focus on the capital’s best coffee spots and events, but you won’t miss out if you’re elsewhere in the UK – check out UK Coffee Week’s interactive map to find out what’s on near you!
Head down to London Coffee Festival
London Coffee Festival marks the launch of UK Coffee Week. As well as providing us Brits with great-tasting cuppas they’re also donating 50% of ticket sales to Project Waterfall, a charity that aims to bring clean drinking water to coffee-growing communities across the world.
The coffee festival, which takes place between 12th-15th April, celebrates London’s buzzing coffee culture and this year sees over 250 artisan coffee and gourmet food stalls come together at The Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane.
It’s not just about drinking though – the festival is also a great place to get involved in some hands-on sessions. You can learn how to pull the perfect espresso, become a whizz at latte art and get creative with some espresso martini cocktails. A basic ticket costs from £16.50 and although most workshops do charge extra, there are lots of free talks and demonstrations throughout the weekend included in the ticket price. And remember, it’s all for a good cause!
Create your own coffee
Fed up of drinking the same cup of instant each morning? Sick of forking out for a ‘proper’ caffeine fix on your way to work?
Use UK Coffee Week as an opportunity to develop your own barista skills, with a number of venues across the capital hosting interactive sessions. The Department of Coffee and Social Affairs runs courses where you can learn the key principles and techniques of espresso making and latte art – you’ll definitely impress your colleagues next time it’s your turn to get the cuppas in!
Artisan Coffee School, in Ealing Broadway, also offers courses perfect for any coffee enthusiast in its lab-come-workshop. Their classes range from £35 for a home brew masterclass to £800+ for those which follow the Coffee Diploma System – so there really is something for everyone!
Go back in time
It might seem like coffee is having ‘a moment’, but it’s actually been the capital’s most popular drink for hundreds of years. To find out how Londoners got so hooked on the black stuff, take a tour of the city’s original and best coffeehouses, led by historian Dr Matthew Green. The critically acclaimed tour begins in 1652, when “bitter Mohammedan gruel” began to transform London, bringing people together and inspiring some of the most brilliant minds of the day.
Coffee shop hop
There are so many coffee shops in London it’s almost criminal that we end up going to the same one or two every day.
Break away from the chain shops this UK Coffee Week and try some of the independent traders who offer something extra special.
Some of our top picks are Kaffeine, which has two locations in Fitzrovia inspired by the coffee culture in Australia and New Zealand, and Monmouth Coffee Company in Covent Garden and Borough, where staff are always eager to offer advice on what’s best to suit your individual taste.
Lots of London’s top coffee shops are also donating to Project Waterfall for UK Coffee Week – including Look Mum No Hands, a quirky café which fixes bikes and serves great coffee, beer and food from its HQ on Old Street. What more could you want?
And if you really do have to visit Starbucks at least head to the one on 10 Russell Street in Covent Garden, which was once known as Button’s – the greatest coffeehouse in the world and a meeting place for some of the best intellects of the 18th Century. You might just be inspired!
Don’t forget that UK Coffee Week isn’t just confined to the capital, though! If you’re up north, some top spots to look out for include Grindsmith in Manchester, Bison Coffee House across the way in York, and Newcastle-based Pumphreys!
UK Coffee Week 2018
Whether you fancy a flat white, love a latte or crave a cappuccino, UK Coffee Week is the only excuse you need to head into the capital for your caffeine. Why not try to find your fix in a cafe where your hard-earned pennies will make a difference to those making your morning coffee?