Sunday 30 September 2018

Edinburgh Coffee Festival 6 October includes the annual Scottish Aeropress Championships

This Saturday, Edinburgh’s Corn Exchange will transform into a haven for coffee lovers, as well as featuring some fine purveyors of tea, drinking chocolate and tasty bites.

Building on the successful format of friendly stallholders, informative talks, demonstrations, skills training sessions and cuppings, this year the annual Scottish Aeropress Championships is also part of the event.

So, what delights are we all in for?

Starting with the Scottish Aeropress Championships - the most chilled of coffee competitions...

Elimination heats run from 10.30am to 1pm. At 1.30pm the audience is invited in to cheer on competitors in the two semi-finals (2pm and 3.30pm) before the final showdown at 5pm.

This year's judges Leo Belcher - Kaf Coffee, Claire Wallace - Assembly Coffee and 3rd placer in last year’s Champs and Robi Lambie - Cairngorm Coffee will literally point their fingers, paper-scissors-rock style, at their preferred brew in every heat, after blind tasting via the traditional slurp method. The one and only judging criteria is “which brew would I like to drink all of” and the judges don’t confer with each other before deciding.

Competitors have 8 minutes to prepare their Aeropress brew using only the ingredients of water and coffee. An MC will chat everyone through the event, usually with a fair amount of banter and chit chat, before holding up the arm of the crowned champion who wins travel and accommodation (thanks to iZettle) to Sydney for the World Aeropress Championships – and the adoration of their friends and ‘enemies’.

Spectating is thoroughly encouraged from 1.30pm and beer is often an important part of the event during the latter hours (for spectators) and afterwards (for judges and competitors too). There'll also be a DJ on site turning out the soundtrack.

Jumping to stallholders, this year promises another great line up. Anyone who has been to previous events will tell you they are a friendly bunch. So far onboard are:

  • These coffee roasters love talking about their coffee – where it’s from, how it’s processed, flavour profiles and home brewing. You’ll meet the friendly faces from Cairngorm, Carvetii, Dear Green, Django, Fortitude, Gather & Gather (who also offer training), Gordon Street, Obadiah, Stirling, Union and Unorthodox. Glasgow’s Thomson’s Coffee will also feature lovely shiny Victoria Arduino espresso machines and grinders.
  • Café and training facility Brew Lab are stallholders, and are also heavily involved in masterminding the Aeropress Championships.
  • Gourmands Cakesmith, Crystal Shortbread, Herbivore and Leaf & Bean will help keep your caffeine levels balanced and taste buds tantalised with mouth-watering cakes and baked items including gluten-free and vegan
  • Tea providores Eteaket and Rosevear Tea will delight you with a wide range and innovative flavours. These folk will re-inspire you to get beyond the supermarket tea bag and savour the joys of loose leaf tea and all that goes with it
  • Liquid Sunshine puts the turmeric into turmeric latte, and other health-giving drinks
  • Chocolate producers Ombar Chocolate will bring their range of dairy and sugar free raw and ethically created Ecuadorian chocolates and The Real Hot Chocolate Company will offer Madagascan drinking chocolate plus truffles and other goodies.
  • U-Roast will show you how their micro roasters enables you to roast your own coffee and also offer a variety of green coffee beans
  • Hidden Stag Design - Edinburgh based product design company who knock out stylish and ethically produced clothing, home accessories and items for coffee shops including customised coffee machines
On the learning and demonstrations front:

The Speciality Coffee Association (SCA) are running hour-long sessions on sensory (smell, taste, sight type of senses), brewing, barista and roasting. These folk are the official accreditors within the coffee industry and will give you a speedy knowledge upload at 10.15am, 11.35am, 1.30pm and 2.50pm.

Talks include Manumit Coffee How coffee helps reduce slavery (this Cardiff-based roastery trains and employs people who have suffered modern slavery), Eteaket Tea Brewing Masterclass, Brewlab Aeropress Masterclass and SCA The Importance of Coffee Education – From Seed to Cup among others.

Cuppings (how professionals taste, grade and choose coffee) from Olam Speciality Coffee (formerly Schluter) , Thomsons, Minasul and Gather & Gather (Artisan Roast).

And last, but definitely not least, the Coffee Festival is continuing to be a zero-waste event, facilitated with partners Vegware and the Corn Exchange. The Edinburgh Coffee Festival led the way last year on this front, proving it’s possible to avoid the vast environmental destruction caused by take-away coffee cups and containers. (More than 99.75% of over 2.5bn cups used annually in the UK aren't recycled and the plastic lining is particularly bad for the environment.)

The Festival is a fantastic opportunity to try different coffees, learn from friendly knowledgeable people, buy some cracking beans to brew and home and now also watch the fun and games of the Scottish Aeropress Championships.

You can organise your ticket here > Edinburgh Coffee Festival - £9 per  adult if you buy before 5 October, £10 at the door.

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