Brighton Coffee Festival
Updated: Sep 2, 2019
The very first Brighton Coffee Festival took place this weekend and I could not pass up the opportunity to find a couple of new brews, so S and I headed down to the coast for a cuppa.
Coffee is a big deal in Brighton. The average resident there spends about £200 a year on coffee and a quick walk through town from the station to the festival showed why this was the perfect place to celebrate artisan coffee. Passing a coffee shop as you walk through a town is no great surprise, but what is refreshing about Brighton is that they are mostly independent or artisan cafes, rather than the big chains.
The festival itself was set up in the Open Market; the festival itself was held in a fenced off area, surrounded by the permanent vintage shops and cafes. Inside were a raft of producers offering tastings and expertise - along with the chance to get your hands on some beans or grains of your own.
In the middle of the festival was a stage where experts gave talks and throughout the day the Latte Art Competition took place. I'll be honest, I missed most of it. But some of the designs were pretty impressive - and some less so.
But we had come for the coffee itself. You were encouraged to bring your own reusable cup, which stands would wash out for you and then supply you with a taster of their own offering.
I was particularly taken with this from the team at Pelicano Coffee. They were showcasing two blends, including their house blend, Smokey Bird, which makes a really delightful but easy to drink go-to cup.
What was really delightful was the enthusiasm and expertise on offer from all the exhibitors at the event, who would happily advise on the best way to make the perfect cup of their coffee. though agreement on the best way to make coffee was not forthcoming.
The real surprise find of the day was Cannabissimo, from Mighty Green Coffee. The company specialises in creating coffee to "supercharge your life", containing natural herbs, spices and hemp flowers.
The really amazing thing I found here was the drastic effect of adding a dash of milk. Claudia, the co-founder of Mighty Green Coffee, kindly gave me a taster of Cannabissimo as a straight, black espresso - which was great, but the addition of a bit of oat milk brought the whole thing to life, bringing through the hemp flavouring to create something very different and exciting.
In some ways, a coffee festival is like the polar opposite of a day-drinking session because after a few hours of gently sipping away at constant cups of coffee you suddenly stop and realise you are absolutely buzzing. It gave me flashbacks to dissertation deadlines at university.
One of the major drivers behind my buzz in Brighton was an espresso from these guys which tasted great but could probably have woken the dead.
But their stand did take the prize for best bit of kit, this cold brew machine was created from parts of a coffee machine and came equipped with cool, bar-style pull handles and a guy working it who just loved having his photo taken.
I walked away from the day with two bags of coffee, a new-found love for artisan creators and lots of exciting ideas about how to make the perfect cuppa in my own house. I have no doubt the festival will be back next year - there were queues for each of the entry sessions - and if you are down in town I would heartily recommend it.
Until then, if you are in Brighton and find a great coffee spot, let me know.