This weekend I was lucky enough to attend the North’s first coffee festival, Cup North. I’d had my tickets booked for the Sunday session from September and I was excited. I couldn’t write in depth about everything I saw and tried but would like to pick out a few of my highlights!
5. D. R. Wakefield
Forget the name is attached to a certain researcher who linked Autism to the MMR jab (thanks @Press_Coffee) – these guys were here to educate us about beans. Really lovely comparisons between the different stages and processed healthy beans and then a great collection of things you definitely don’t want to see in your grinder.
The festival had teamed up with GRUB, who organised a lovely group of street food traders. On the Sunday we were treated to FilFil Falafel, Yakumama, Mumma Schnitzel, Bistro Barn House and Sweet Octopus. I went straight for Yakumama’s Ginger Beer Tacos. They didn’t disappoint and were very obliging in helping me choose the ingredients that wouldn’t be too hot for a mild mouthed gal like myself. I didn’t have the Yakumama Hot Sauce, but I did get a taster, and though I wouldn’t have coped with it on my tacos – it was gorgeous!
I also managed to swindle some free falafel from Filfil Falafel, as the very generous Chris Cambell had won a competition but had to leave the festival early and passed his winnings over to me. Their falafel pittas were some of the best falafel I’ve had, and it was very nicely dressed with cabbage, aubergine, yoghurt and harissa.
Bistro Barns’ Jalapeno burger went down well from word of mouth and Sweet Octopus’ Jaffa Chocolate Torte… There are no words! Super effort on the food side and some excellent beers being served up – I was really glad I had my growler with me and took home some Honey Hill Wit, brewed by Pig and Porter.
3. Extract’s Strongman
Bristol roastery, Extract, gave us all a preview of their Movember espresso, Strongman. This was my first port of call as my local coffee house, Upshot Espresso are running it throughout the month. As an espresso this was super fruity, but in milk it really mellowed out and basically tasted like a Hobnob. Really lovely both in and out of milk.
2. Bean Brothers’ Espresso Stout
Relatively new Huddersfield Roastery, Bean Brothers’, have collab’d with Manchester Brewery, Squawk Brewing Company, to produce the most drinkable stout I’ve ever encountered. It’s the stout for all those who say, “I’m not really a fan of dark beers.” Trust me, because I’m that person. Bean Brothers’ Derek Blend Espresso is mixed into the brewing process as cold brew to produce a lovely Espresso Stout (6.5%). I’m determined to get this into Sheffield – so watch out!
1. Square Mile’s Kilimanjaro Four Ways
Bigwigs of London, Square Mile, were fab. They presented their newest filter Kilimanjaro, which is to be released in the next couple of weeks, but with a twist. Four different processes, one coffee – all super versions which display the differences in the roasting process. You’ll have to forgive my limited understanding of coffee processing – but I’ll try and give a brief overview!
Cascara: the dried outer fruit layer of the coffee cherry, sometimes considered a waste product but if processed right can produce a lovely tea-like beverage. This was Kilimanjaro in it’s best form for me. So beautifully light with massive honey tones. This is what I will be waiting eagerly for.
Natural: the cherries are dried with the beans inside – these coffees are often big and boozy – Kilimanjaro was an excellent example of this.
Washed: the bean is separated by the pulp through lots of water and then some drying. Kilimanjaro washed was dry with a great clean finish.
Pulped Natural: a less practiced process, somewhere in between the two. it is meant to reduce acidity and increase body. This was my second favourite version, notes were a beautiful melon sweetness and plenty of tropical fruits.
Other highlights include: our very own Foundry Coffee’s Yirgacheffe (strawberry milkshake in milk); Small Batch’s Kenyan Chania Estate French Mission Natural filter (fruit pastilles) and a good range of stock from Canton Tea Co.
So in conclusion, there seemed to be many good words spoken about Cup North – great location, great vibes. Everyone was super friendly and as long as you take an interest in coffee, what seemed like a relatively small event when walking in, then turned into a long afternoon of learning, making new contacts, meeting old friends and, of course, getting super hyped up on too much coffee.