Top takeaways from the London Coffee Festival 2017


We hit this year’s London Coffee Festival to check out what’s new in the world of coffee trends, coffee packaging, and coffee shop branding & design. Here are a few of our observations…

  1. Cold brew is officially a mainstream beverage now. It’s spent years on the independent coffee scene but the likes of Sandows and Minor Figures are gaining distribution. Whilst Starbucks launched cold brew in some stores in the UK in 2015, they devoted their entire stand at this year’s festival to cold brew and nitro cold brew – sending out a statement to the coffee community that they’re throwing their weight behind the coffee style.
  2. Turmeric is becoming more visible as a hot beverage ingredient thanks to the likes of Wunder Workshop The Turmeric Brand, which had a stand at the festival. Rude Health was offering almond turmeric lattes and Alpro included a recipe for turmeric & coconut latte in its marketing literature. As designers, we love the colour – especially when photographed as a trilogy with a coffee latte and matcha latte.
  3. We reckon kombucha – a slightly effervescent drink made using fermented tea – is one to watch. We’ve seen it around before – for example, our local zero-waste restaurant Silo offers it. But having spotted the drink at the festival, we reckon it offers mainstream potential. As coffee shops up their game when it comes to their chilled summer drinks menus, kombucha offers a refreshing and more unusual menu addition.
  4. Milk is being taken more seriously. We spotted dairy supplier Allan Reeder at this year’s festival, promoting the Brades Farm Barista Milk that it supplies. Over the last couple of years, we’ve seen the launch of dairy milks, such as Brades Farm and The Estate Dairy in the UK that are specially developed for baristas. Meanwhile, Alpro has developed ‘for professionals’ ‘foamable’ almond, soya, and coconut. It’s about time that someone took the type of milk used for coffee-making – as well as milk branding – more seriously. We’d anticipate more activity in this area in future.
  5. We were interested to see Marks and Spencer host a stand this year, with the aim of promoting its exclusive range of single origin coffees from Ethiopia, Brazil and Colombia. Its presence at the festival is indicative of the strength of coffee as a selling point for the major grocery retailers in the UK. Whilst it has since divested its interest, Tesco previously had a stake in coffee shop chain Harris+Hoole and Waitrose uses free coffee as a incentive to draw customers into stores via its myWaitrose card.
  6. We loved the simple way in which cold brew coffee brand Minor Figures used its packaging to create fantastic visual impact on its stand (see top, right). It just goes to show that sometimes a simple, cost effective idea can be the most impactful.

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