As London Coffee Festival and UK Coffee Week heads our way, we check out four cool new trends in coffee that you need to know about…
Words: Evangeline Modell
Lead image: Latte art by Chief Coffee, Chiswick
While stereotypically us Brits are drinking tea out of delicate, china cups with our pinky fingers extended, it seems that coffee has stolen the nation’s heart.
Evidence of the coffee culture revolution can be seen from bleary-eyed London commuters inhaling espressos to photos of elaborate latte art frequenting our Instagram feeds.
In total, the UK coffee shop market added 1,215 stores over the last 12 months to reach 24,061, representing a 5.3% growth. This rapid increase is far from over with 32,000 coffee shops predicted to be operating in the UK by 2025, according to a new report from Allegra World Coffee Portal.
But the world of coffee is far from just your basic lattes, cappuccinos and espressos; we are entering an age of coffee innovation like we have never seen before. And with London Coffee Festival just around the corner, here are a few new trends to watch out for…
1 Cold Brew is Hot!
Cold Brew coffee has made the transition from hipster to mainstream and may be the secret to supercharge your summer. British coffee connoisseurs have been going mad for this (caffeine) hit and even Starbucks has started to serve it.
Not to be confused with iced-coffee, cold brew is coffee infused with cold water for up to 24 hours to produce a smoother flavor with less acidity and bitterness than regular black coffee.
The company at the forefront of London’s cold brew frenzy, Sandows, is the love child of best friends Hugh Duffie and Luke Suddards.
‘I guess where it all comes from is that, when you work in a coffee shop you end up drinking an awful lot of milk and you start to expand. You sort of go towards black coffee almost out of necessity. We were learning a lot about coffee and roasting coffee and it was interesting to be able to try it in its most blank canvas form,’ says Hugh.
It’s not just cold brew, Sandows also produce something called Nitro Cold Brew which is cold brew coffee infused with Nitrogen on draught to produce a creamy texture, which almost looks like Guinness.
2 Latte Art Throw Downs
Latte art is increasingly become the norm, with elaborate foam sculptures popping up all over your Instagram feed. But never before have we seen the competition so fierce with Latte art throw downs popping up all over the country.
‘Latte art is important because it’s all about presentation nowadays,’ says Dhan Tamang, the six-year consecutive winner of the UK Latte Art Championship and owner of the growing coffee shop chain, Coffee Lab.
‘I normally give myself around three months to prepare for latte art competitions,’ he continues. ‘Near the time I work five or six days a week and stay after work at least two or three hours to practice.’
3 Soy Out; Oat In
With more people choosing a vegan lifestyle in the UK than ever before, alternative milks have never been more popular. But in the rapidly changing world of coffee, it is time to say goodbye soy and almond milk and hello to the barista’s new best friend, oat milk.
In only the past year, Swedish company Oatly has led the way in making oat milk the best dairy-free companion for your coffee and London’s top specialty coffee shops are going crazy for it.
‘When I joined Oatly just over a year ago, most coffee shops in London hadn’t even heard of oat milk,’ says Toby Weedon, Barista Market Developer at Oatly.
‘The acidity of the espresso makes soy and almond milk curdle when you pour them into coffee, whereas Oatly Barista is designed for coffee so it has an acidity regulator in it and a much more neutral flavour,’ says Toby.
4 From AM to PM
Coffee and alcohol have always been an iconic duo and dashes of whiskey have been turning post dinner-party coffees Irish for years. But as café and cocktail culture are on the rise, things are about to reach a whole new level.
Tem Mellese is the mastermind behind one of London’s newest, smallest and coolest cold brew coffee liqueur companies, Cold and Blac. He founded it two years ago with the aim of introducing people to new ways to experience coffee.
Tem’s process has been experimental: ‘We created all our own production equipment and developed our techniques to integrate ingredients that are quite unique into the product and preserve the specialty coffee taste,’ he says.
‘I think that people like to have a relationship with the product so it’s important to celebrate the fact that it’s not mass produced. Cold and Blac’s experimental flavours really come from my cultural appreciation of coffee from growing up in Ethiopia where coffee was invented,’ Tem added.
Love coffee? London Coffee Festival runs from 12-15 April 2018 at the Old Truman Brewery in East London
Also, check out some of London’s best coffee shops courtesy of @LondonTV on YouTube: