back to article London Coffee Festival: Caffeine, tech and martinis on show in Shoreditch

As many Reg readers will know, between the start and end of a project there’s often an awful lot of coffee. However you make it, a coffee is essential for many of us. It’s become such a part of our life – in many places supplanting the good old cuppa – that there’s a huge industry of coffee shops, roaster, machine makers and so …

  1. frank ly

    Getting a good cup of coffee?

    I make coffee at home by grinding some beans (Talylors of Harrogate bought from Asda) then using a cafetiere (french press) for a three minute brew with very hot (not boiling) water. I put a small amount of Nescafe non-dairy whitener in it and I find it to be delicious and smooth tasting. People I've made coffee for in this way say it's a nice cup of coffee.

    Whenever I buy a coffee (cappuchino or americano or whatever) in a cafe or restaurant, it almost always has a harsh taste and a bitter edge to it. This includes small high street cafes as well as the well known chain outlets. They use an espresso machine then add milk or hot water to the 'shot' to make the coffee.

    Are they using cheap beans, is the water too hot, is there residue in the filter/pipes, .......?

    Many people I've spoken to, who make 'proper' coffee at home, by whatever method, say that they have the same experience and do not buy coffee in cafes for this reason.

    1. Richard Taylor 2 Silver badge

      Re: Getting a good cup of coffee?

      One of the problems I have always had is that roasting beans and ground coffee promise so damn much from the aroma but deliver little. Now a good cup of Yorkshire tea does the opposite.

    2. Lis 0r

      Re: Getting a good cup of coffee?

      It'll be an Italian roast - it provides a consistent product, but tends to bitterness and annihilates any terroir. The overly hot extraction process then magnifies the issue.

    3. phil dude

      Re: Getting a good cup of coffee?

      There was a story I heard on NPR (great source of podcasts!!!) about an entomologist who was a researcher into cockroaches (The Fascinating World Of The Dung Beetle). They were doing field research in some remote locations and his supervisor always insisted on getting whole bean coffee. Eventually he discovered his supervisor was not picky but actually allergic to cockroach droppings, and the FDA permits a certain amount in ground coffee. I too buy whole bean coffee consistently after hearing this...!!

      The machines need to be clean - coffee is normally too strong a flavour but in tea it is immediately evident. I had to teach a barrista at a hotel in Italy how to get rid of the problem. Espresso is named because it is fast - high pressure but NOT so hot water, produces a really concentrated output. I suspect that in order to increase throughput mega-corps turn up the pressure to reduce time. It is the volatile oils in coffee that make it smell/taste as it does - heat will evaporate them.

      Of course the coffee really matters too - Starbucks always tastes "burnt" to me. Cafe Nero is better, but a bit weak. Illy if you can get it is devine - Lavazza too. But I use a cafetiere (Italian method - Bialetti) and 12 oz fits nicely into a cup.

      And on my last trip to Seattle (SC11), I managed to go the entire week without having Starbucks once - some awesome cafes.


      1. John H Woods

        Re: Getting a good cup of coffee?

        Phil Dude, I believe you are spot on. Charbucks over-roast their coffee on purpose to give it a distinctive strong taste that is mistaken for quality by people who don't know better.

        I love Italian coffee --- Illy is fantastic when it is on special offer, Lavazza will do when it isn't. And I think Lavazza's Modo Mio pod machines are pretty good. But, although it's pretty hard to source in the UK, I also love Portuguese blends like Nicola.

        Bialetti's are good, but I've never really enjoyed cafetiere coffee, as I find it hard to get a grind that is uniformly coarse enough to avoid the muddy bottom you get from the material too fine to be filtered by the mesh. But then I discovered the Aeropress ... great coffee from a cheap, robust, easily cleaned device with minimal environmental impact (and a bonus miniature arm workout if you put in enough grounds) -- what's not to like?

  2. Dr_N Silver badge

    Coffee aficionados ...

    Worse than audiophiles?

    1. Nigel Whitfield.

      Re: Coffee aficionados ...

      I was tempted to play a drinking game that involved an espresso Martini each time I saw outlandish facial hair. However, I quickly concluded that a) the article would never get written and b) I might need my liver for something later.

    2. skeptical i

      Re: Coffee aficionados ...

      I certainly appreciate the science involved, balancing all the variables to get this or that flavor result. But I wonder if coffee is just getting too darn precious when I walk into a coffee shop and the menu board does not seem to have anything like "basic cup of coffee" -- French press, pour-over, Americano, flannel, plus whatever method was in the trade mags last week are the only options -- and more often than not I just want a bleedin' red eye (coffee + espresso shot) and don't particularly care how it is made as long as it works and doesn't taste like kerosene. I guess it gives the proprietors license to charge meal prices for a beverage, and if there's enough customer base for this business model to survive long-term more power to 'em but I'll fuel up elsewhere.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How many Apple Watches were on show? And what order of magnitude more of them will there be in next year's show?

  4. Tim99 Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Wot no Aeropress?

    Can be a bit of a faff, but it makes really good coffee: Wikipedia link. It's cheap too.

    1. Nigel Whitfield.

      Re: Wot no Aeropress?

      There were those dotted around the place, yep. But as they were mentioned in the piece I linked to, and aren't so new, I decided to look more at the things that hadn't been covered before. I do quite like the Aeropress, and use it sometimes when my big bean to cup machine is out of order (which, thanks to its fiendish german complexity, happens rather more often than I'd like; thanks Siemens)

  5. Paul Barnett
    Thumb Down

    no printer.

    I was tempted - sounded like an entertaining way to spend a Sunday

    morning (and I like coffee).

    It seems that although I can buy a ticket online, I must then print it.

    I don't own a printer, so that's that.

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