London Coffee Festival

Yesterday was one of those days that are becoming a regular occurrence at Barrow Towers.

We have a plan for the day, in this case the Boat Race.   Then I see something on Twitter and mention it in a nonchalant kinda way to Mr B who looks at me and says “are we doing that then?”.   I take that as being enthusiastic as it is not a categoric “you have to be kidding” and book it.

Since the Boat Race wasn’t until 6pm that gave us lots of time to do something else, despite that fact we had a million things we should have been doing at home.   Life is for living, right?

Quick text to friends who I think will also enjoy the two events, and that’s it.   Day planned.

Which is how we found ourselves at the London Coffee Festival with our friends Andy and Sarah yesterday.

And I don’t even drink coffee.  Well not very often.    But one of my favourite brands, Sage Appliances were there and having been in touch with them for a while and flooded their Twitter feed for months with pics of my risotto in their multi cooker and my early morning brews I couldn’t resist going to say hello.   Mr B and Andy are HUGE coffee fans so it had the ingredients of a good day out for the boys, and a chance for Sarah and I to have a catch up.

The Festival is in Brick Lane, just near Spitalfields and features over 250 stalls.  Everything from coffee from all over the world, to coffee cups, chocolates, tea, and appliances.    All along side a milk bar, live music, a poetry cafe and The Lab where they ran  an exciting programme of live interactive demonstrations, workshops, talks, theatre and debates.

And a Barista Off.    No, really.

Tickets allow you access to a timed three hour session so that queues can be managed.   Entry was swift, though there was a queue outside it moved quickly.   It was busy inside which really added to the atmosphere but it did make it very hot!   Steam from coffee machines, hot food, and lots of people meant it was steamy.    But there were plenty of areas to sit and take the weight off your feet.

And drink coffee.

It was all about the coffee and has kicked off UK Coffee Week in some style.    An event that supports Project Water Fall who are working in partnership with Water Aid to provide safe drinking water, good hygiene and improved sanitation to some of the poorest communities in the coffee growing regions of Africa.  They are currently supporting over 8,000 people in the Mbulu district in Tanzania.  Somewhere I can really associate with after our recent trip with Sport Relief.

There was a lot of coffee drinking yesterday.   In fact the boys were buzzing within an hour.  Though we were not sure if that was the caffeine or the amazing welcome we got from Sage Appliances.    I have made no secret of my adoration of my Sage Tea Maker and the Multi Cooker, if you follow me on Instagram you will see one or the other on an almost daily basis.    I was keen, therefore, to go and apologise to the team for flooding their Twitter feed and to thank them for arranging tickets for us to attend the event.

The whole team couldn’t have been more welcoming, we even got to meet the MD, Tim!  You know how sometimes you talk to people online for a while and then when you meet them it’s all a bit of a disappointment?  And you sort of go off them?  Just a little bit?   Well yesterday couldn’t have been more removed from that feeling.    We got to chat to everybody for ages, and to try out their all singing, all dancing coffee machine, the Dual Boiler.   Andy was in his element, these pics courtesy of Sarah show how much fun he had:

Lots of exciting things are in the pipeline at Sage Appliances, all of which we got to chat about.   It was also refreshing to hear that Heston has not only put his name to this range but he thoroughly tests them ahead of launch, in his test kitchen in Bray.    Possibly the closest I will ever get to the Fat Duck!

I may have been a bit too over excited to hear that the ice cream maker lets you know it is ready by playing ice cream van chimes.   This might be greatest fact I have ever heard (apart from the one about Bruce Forsyth being older than Anne Frank.  And sliced bread).    Tim told us the machine will keep your ice cream at the perfect temperature and ready to eat for three hours.  “Three hours”, scoffed Mr B  “it won’t last ten minutes in our house once it is ready”.

I did also take the opportunity to enjoy an espresso Martini before we left.  Well it was rude not to really, don’t you think?

Martini

This is a great little Festival if you like coffee, or just doing something  a bit different for a few hours.   And it is in a great part of London where you can really make a day of it.    I can highly recommend it.   And Sage Appliances.   I am in love with them, and their entire range.    But you probably knew that already.

Sage Appliances provided us with free tickets, with no request for anything in return.  As this event is raising money for charity I have donated the cost of our tickets to the charity.

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