London Coffee Festival: Trends or here to stay?

A month after the new McDonalds ad took a swipe at pretentious coffee culture; we sent our resident axe whittling, hipster, designer and coffee enthusiast, Russell, to London Coffee Festival.

Here’s what caught our attention.

Coffee & alcohol

Coffee mixed with alcohol is not something particularly new or groundbreaking. It now appears to be turning a corner and experiencing newfound popularity.

Sandows showcased a cold brew gin and tonic with Fever Tree concoction, which went down well with the locals. Mr Black and Ocho were making cold brew negronis, which were super smooth, bitter and very tasty indeed. The pair showcased taste profiles of their liqueurs and having both come from a craft coffee background, were approaching the style of 3rd wave coffee rather than Illy, who are more old school Italian.

Meanwhile, Rebel kitchen were mixing things up by partnering with Our Vodka and distributing a wide variety of cocktails.

London Coffee Festival: Coffee & Alcohol

Mr Black’s Cold brew negroni


In the coffee community, finding a better milk option is becoming increasingly important. An influx of big plant based milk brands brought along barista professional milk, while traditional milk brands, like Estate, were showing the benefits of using higher-grade options when making coffee.
In years prior, the coffee itself was the star of the show and the milk was just a small feature. This year, there was a lot of focus on the quality of milk used and the important role milk plays in a coffee. This echoes the wider drinks category trends of upgrading your mixer.

London Coffee Festival: Oatly milk alternatives

Oatly barista edition milk

Cold brews

Cold brew was also a popular feature; with lots of brands introducing nitro cold brew on tap. Similarly, Sandows and Minor Figures are both hitting supermarkets across the UK with their new nitro cold canned brew. Even Starbucks had a stand predominantly showing off their offering in cold brew and cold drinks for the summer.

Cold Brews

Sandows Cold brew


Like most industries, there is pressure to utilise technology and speed up or even replace certain factors in creation. There were a lot of big names, such as La Cimbali and De’Longhi that were showing off the latest offerings in automated coffee machines. Although the stands were impressive, the coffee wasn’t up to scratch.

La Cimbali

La Cimbali stand

Conclusion and the up-and-comers that will break into the mainstream

London Coffee Festival is a fantastic occasion for all coffee lovers and continues to impress year upon year. The stand out name and brand destined to break into the mainstream is Mr Black.

Already a well-known entity in the coffee community and cocktail game, it will soon be a recognisable name for the every day coffee drinker. In the next few years, we will see Mr Black sold in a number of different places; currently it’s only available on amazon.

Mr. Black

Mr Black’s bottle on display on their stand at the festival