April 15, 2019

London Coffee Festival 2019

With the dust now settled on London Coffee Festival 2019 (and the hangovers faded) we cast our mind back to think about what, why, and how we take on the challenge every year.



Union has been at LCF from its very first year – way back in 2011 – and both the show and our stand have changed and grown quite a bit over the years. This year nearly 30,000 people visited the Truman Brewery and it felt like most of them came to see us! It’s an intense four days where we catch up with existing customers, chat to new ones, and brew/pull/sample a whole lot of coffee. And of course, we get to check out what else is happening in the speciality coffee industry!



This year we launched our new stand experience, Flavour Discovery – a sensory journey exploring how taste and aroma combine to create our perception of flavour in coffee. Building on the success of Flavour Challenge and SCA teaching methods, this was a great opportunity to get visitors thinking about the science behind flavour and what it is that makes us like, or dislike, certain things.



Also new to the stand this year was a visual representation of the 14 countries and 45 producers we source from, alongside a showcase of some of their stories on our filter bar. We’re incredibly proud of the long-term relationships we continue to build with farmers through the Union Direct Trade model, so putting it front and centre of our stand this year was an easy choice to make. With six coffees from Rwanda, Brazil, Burundi, and Guatemala it was a non-stop batch brewing marathon back of house for our Brew Master!




A focus on coffee was behind the decision to use a Modbar for our espresso section – breaking down the barrier between Barista and visitor by removing the machinery as a focal point. Maraba made a return as a decaf espresso option, a bit of a surprise LCF favourite as people try and get the caffeine jitters under control. Bobolink and Cyarumbo made for a great contrast in styles.



Making its debut at LCF this year was our new Sparkling Black cold brew soda. Refreshing, (very) stimulating, and super tasty, it was the ideal pick-me-up for anyone suffering from a bit of Coffee Festival burn-out come Sunday and went down a storm with visitors to the stand; look out for it in shops soon.


In numbers: 2,100 people took part in Flavour Discovery, we brewed 1,100 litres of filter coffee, pulled 2,400 shots of espresso, and we individually walked nearly a marathon each over the four days.


As ever, LCF was a busy, hot, and challenging four days for all involved but one that allows us to connect with customers past, present, and future in a unique and impactful way. It’s a team effort and a source of pride for all involved so stay tuned for some exciting developments in years to come.


Written by Tom Hyde, Head of Hospitality at Union, Co-Founder of Union Brew Lab

April 2019

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