I’m sure you’re all astonished to learn that I love coffee. Being the caffeine addict that I am, the Birmingham Coffee Festival was a bit of a no brainer.
Held in the Market Hall at the Custard Factory, the Coffee Festival brought together independent coffee shops and experiences from all over the country. There was street food, live music and talks from the experts. Basically, my heaven.
We arrived mid-afternoon on Saturday and were very surprised by how busy it was. Digbeth can be a bit of a ghost town at weekends, but the coffee lovers were out in force. We did a circuit of the hall first, sussing out what was what. It was nice to see quite a lot of the exhibitors were local, with a good smattering of great brands from further afield too. Most of the exhibitors were offering tasters, so I got busy snaffling up everything from chai teas to whole lattes.
It was excellent, but there were some stand-outs.
Pimento is a non-alcoholic ginger drink with a chili kick. Created by a Parisian looking for a replacement for a strong drink, Pimento is fiery without blasting your sinuses, and would make a fantastic, refreshing soft drink alternative to the usual syrupy sweet stuff.
I was really pleased to spot Henny & Joe’s, who make gorgeous masala chai. I wrote about their chocolate chai a while ago, so it was really lovely to actually meet founder Ash Bailey in person and have a good chat. I really love the chocolate chai, so I tried some of the regular masala chai as a chai latte. It was gorgeous. Sweet, and gently spicy, with all the cosy comfort of the chocolate version. We also tried some of the chai with apple juice. It would never have occurred to me to try this, especially iced as this was, but it was actually delicious and a really refreshing drink for the heat. I’d imagine the apple chai mix would be very tasty warm in the winter too.
I also had a good natter with the very nice MD of Fracino, who make commercial coffee machines. I was drawn over by the shiny steel of their giant coffee machine, and was pleased to see that despite being a commercial producer, they also had lots of smaller machines that would fit neatly into a domestic kitchen. I’ve seen Fracino machines all over the place, but had never realised they’re actually made in Birmingham! They use British-sourced stainless steel, and they make sure that around 90% of all components that make up their machines are fabricated, machined and assembled in the Birmingham facility. Pretty cool. MD, Adrian Maxwell made me an excellent latte, which was the perfect companion for exploring the rest of the festival.
Birmingham Coffee Festival wasn’t huge, but as the festival is in it’s first year, this didn’t bother me. There was a great range of exhibitors, and not just showing coffee either. I really hope the festival returns next year and can grow a little bigger.
I paid in full for the tickets to Birmingham Coffee Festival. They didn’t know I was a blogger. Henney & Joe’s, Pimento and Fracino were offering free samples to all visitors. Henny & Joe’s obviously do know I’m a blogger, and I also told Fracino. All opinions are honest and my own.