Cup North 2015 wasn’t just my first ever coffee convention. It was also a coffee convention dedicated to showcasing the very best of northern England’s specialty coffee scene.
I had no idea what to expect when I went there – but when I left, I did so with the knowledge that going to a coffee convention is one of the best things a coffee-lover can do.
Cup North: The Details
When: 7th-8th November 2015
Where: Victoria Warehouse Hotel, Manchester
How: The brainchild of Hannah Davies and Ricardo Gandara, Cup North was originally funded through Kickstarter in 2014. Now it’s organised by a small, yet extremely dedicated, team of coffee aficionados.
Cup North: My Experience
Walking into the convention, I found a maze of coffee exhibitors, cuppings from world-leading roasteries and importers, and talks by coffee luminaries. One excellent talk was Prufrock Coffee’s Gwilym Davies on women in coffee.
Workshop v60: There’s no end to how much you can learn at a coffee convention.
Why Attend a Coffee Festival?
1. Make Coffee Connections
Want to connect with other coffee geeks? Regardless of whether you’re a coffee novice or a seasoned brewer, coffee conventions are the perfect place to this. Not only do you walk away with a lot of new coffees to cup and brew, but you also get to meet new roasters and build up your specialty coffee contacts. Coffee shop owners, in particular, should jump at the chance to attend.
My coffee haul from Cup North.
2. Old Friends and New Acquaintances
Coffee festivals aren’t just a great place to discover new roasteries and coffee houses; they’re also an opportunity to catch up with your favourite roasters and baristas. Or you could even do both – I had the pleasure of meeting, for the first time, a roaster whose coffee I’ve been brewing for the last two years.
Selfie with Casper of J. Atkinsons of Lancaster.
3. Get to Know the Local Scene
You might not know it, but the North has some great new roasters – North Star of Leeds, Heart and Graft of Manchester, Grumpy Mule of Yorkshire, Neighbourhood of Liverpool, and Atkinsons of Lancaster were some of the exciting northern specialty coffee exhibitors.
And the North isn’t just ploughing ahead with the roasting revolution; it also has got some amazing cold brew coming from the young folks at Artemis Cold Brew. Want to learn about your local specialty coffee scene? You need to go to a coffee festival.
The Artemis cold brew stand.
4. Experience Specialty Coffee from Further Afield
Despite the name, it wasn’t just the North that was represented at Cup North. Horsham Coffee Roasters and Small Batch were there from Brighton; Squaremile, Climpson & Sons, and Workshop were in attendance for London; and Avenue Coffee came down from Glasgow.
Nor was it just British roasters: Amsterdam micro-roastery Lot Sixty One came across the sea.
5. Suppliers and Importers, Ahoy!
Want to experience mind-blowingly good cuppings? Desperate to buy some incredibly coffees? Get yourself to a coffee convention. Falcon Specialty, supplier and importer from Harrogate, Yorkshire rule the roost when it comes to providing green beans to the North’s finest. They exhibited next season’s specialty coffee with, among others, lots from Tanzania, Brazil, and the Congo.
There was also strong representation from the good folks at Mercanta, who are headquartered in Kingston upon Thames, Surrey, and Nordic Approach.
Coming soon to a coffee shop near you.
My conclusion? Coffee festivals are excellent places to connect with other specialty coffee lovers and professionals, to learn, and – of course – to cup a lot of excellent coffee. So look up your nearest coffee convention right now and book yourself a ticket.
Written by E. Palmer Babe and edited by T. Newton.
Perfect Daily Grind.