The well overdue Caffe Culture post (Warning Long Post)

As you can probably tell by the gap between posts that I have been reluctant to dwell on my experiences in London a couple of weeks ago. I had built the day up so much in my head and boy was it a disappointment. Not, might I add, from any of the exhibiters or any events happening but mainly from the extremely excruciating journey to and from little old London. It seems every time I pop down, London tries its hardest to stop me having a good time or even enjoying myself slightly. I’m beginning to hate the place! Still I’m going to have to give it a couple more chances before I become a complete northern recluse, my girlfriend starts a job there in September, Oh Joy! ANYway…..  The day started at 4am as I rose from my bed in my little Northumbrian village all bright eyed and bush tailed (honestly). A quick bacon sandwich, using some locally reared bacon, and a cup of Pumphreys Tea and I was raring to go. Bight sunshine filled my garden as the birds twittered in the trees. What a great day for a jolly I remember thinking as the ‘Old Boy’ picked me up. Our flight was at 6.40am from Newcastle, to arrive at Stanstead 7.40am. The first of many delays and we finally got to Stanstead at 8.45am after a particularly bumpy ride, not too annoyed just yet. A quick change and we were on the stanstead express reading up about the event in CAFÉ Business magazine.  

A quite bizarre thing happened next, I tried to buy a sandwich from the guy pushing the food trolley. The sandwich had a ‘time’ best before on it which had just passed, I think it was 9 o’clock. This is a concept I have never seen before, Imagine If I’d bought that sandwich at 1 minute to 9. It could have potentially gone off as I was eating it, bizarre! I settled for a particularly nasty cup of tea instead. 45 mins later and we were in Liverpool St Station. We pointed and grunted at the tube map for a couple of second and then we were off into the Undergrowth, er… underground.  More delays meant we arrived at Olympia at about 11 quite a while after we had planned. Our enthusiasm undamaged we strolled into the Main hall collecting our pointless Show bag and name badge on the way though. The Show After the anticipation of the morning I was initially a little disappointed. There had been a mistake on the timing of the SCAE seminars on the website. The one workshop I had wanted to see, Sé Gorman’s presentation on ‘UK Barista Championship presentations’ had been and gone before I arrived . Dam it!Also the Clover one was fully booked, Double Dam it! 

I managed to blagg a ticket to the Mahlkonig grind on demand seminar from Steve Penk (SCAE and LaSpaz) instead, which was thoughly enjoyable. It was great to go though the  details and the intricacies of the Mahlkonig K 30 ES  with Nils Erichsen. I hope he didn’t mind my endless questions too much! Still its not everyday you get the GM of such a progressive grinder company in front of you taking question, so I thought I’d make the most of it! After that had finished and we had an enormously expensive sandwich from Pret and wandered around the show for a bit! Got a nod and a I’ll catch you later from James Hoffman on the very busy La Spaziale stand on the way past. Sadly never happened but I’m sure I’ll catch up with him soon though! Saw a very nice Victor Ardwino spring lever espresso machine, hand beaten panels on the first choice coffee stand. Ooooh Gorgeous!  

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I then popped to the beyond the Bean stand and met up with my Kiwi mate Jonathon Norton who was along with all the other guys on the stand were looking a little peaky but enthusiastic as always. They had a great stand set up with  a I group La Marzocco  and a camera set up to shoe the drinks being poured. They had ‘Caitalin Hogua’, the current Romanian Barista Champion hired for the day just to bash out rosettes and hearts with chocolate topping for the big screen, it all looked very swish. As I hadn’t had a play with a La Marzocco before I cheekily asked if I could pull a few shots. I was asked not to tamp too hard which confused me. ‘we’ve had trouble with the pressure’. Not wanting to make a scene I did what he said and bashed out a passable shot, chocolaty taste, I’m not sure who’s the blend was!

 I spotted the new Bumper foaming jug and asked if I could have a pour. T’was the first time foaming on la Marzocco and I thoroughly ballsd it up. My second attempt was bang on, when I got used to the steam tip, and I knocked out a big full leafed Rosetta in the larger 12 oz cup to the amasement of the barista. ‘Are you a barista’ he said.. Me…. noooo  It seems he has trouble pouring art  with the larger cups. ‘Just larger jugs, faster pour and  keep up the momentum’ I said with a little smug smile on my face. What’s the saying: Little things…. I got quite exited about the new (to me at least) bumper tampers, the tamper stands, and the Pallo coffee tools. I’ll have to get me some of those. After a little bit more of a wander we decided we had to leave at 3pm. 

We missed flight at 6.25, and this is where I get angry!  

A nice nap on the seats till the morning flight and we finally got home at 10.30am the next day. aaaaaahhhhhHH.

God Bless You Easyjet!!!!

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