Edinburgh first ever Coffee Festival was a roaring success with fantastic exhibitors, talks and live demonstrations, finds Emma O'Neill

The first Edinburgh coffee festival took place in Mansfield Traquair on Saturday.

The venue was packed, with an estimated 2,000 people passing through the doors. Coffee enthusiasts from across the capital and beyond were exposed to a world of tastes and smells as they broadened their caffeine horizons.

27 different exhibitors were in attendance, showcasing everything from baked goods to tea – and of course, plenty of coffee.

The event was filled with talks and demonstrations, from people like Gustavo Pardo, of Artisian roast, who talked about the history of the coffee industry, to John Mellor of Shibui Tea, the Edinburgh based tea sellers.

“Tea is grown like vine yards, all over the world,” Mr Mellor told the crowd. “Tea comes from bushes, with the most common black tea being Assam – which is known as red tea in China.”

He then explained to his eager listeners what the best temperature to brew tea at was – as well as brew times – and ended the demonstration with a display of teas, which included everything from the regular black tea, to a smoked tea.

Edinburgh’s own Pickering’s Gin was also in attendance with a coffee gin cocktail. The Monsooned Malabar blend, from Mr Eion, was cold pressed and combined with gin and cream soda, to make for an interesting taste with a kick.

Pickering's Gin made a cold brew coffee cocktail

Pickering’s Gin made a cold brew coffee cocktail

The Monsooned Malabar coffee bean is purposly left out in the rain, to enhance the flavour of the coffee.

The Really Good Fudge Company were also at the event, a five-year-old company specialising in tablet, they had four flavours on display, including raspberry and cinnamon.

Catherine of The Really Good Fudge Company who specialise in unusual tablet flavours

Catherine of The Really Good Fudge Company who specialise in unusual tablet flavours

Roast Central had a booth set up to experiment with music in a bid to see whether it affected the way you tasted coffee.

Roast Central's coffee experiment

Roast Central’s coffee experiment

You would pick from coffee A or B and drink it as usual, scoring on things such as after taste, and bitterness. You would then select a song from four genres – rock, classic, jazz or indy – listen for 30 seconds and then taste the coffee, again scoring the taste. This was based on many wine experiments, such as did listening to Guns & Roses change the flavour of Merlot.

The event was in partnership with their charity sponsor, Mercy Corps, who help in over 40 countries around the world, tom overcome adversity and build stronger communities.

With coffee being the second most valuable commodity exported by developing countries, research has shown that 67 per cent of these local, independent growers face food insecurity and hunger for several months during the year. Mercy Corps works with them to teach new sustainable farming methods as well as nutritional advice, helping to plant and maintain vegetable gardens.

The event was finished off with a lever barista championship – won by Robi from Cairngorm Coffee Co.

Overall, the Coffee Festival was undeniably a success and will no doubt be back next year – although maybe in a bigger venue!

About The Author

Emma O'Neill

Emma lives in Fife, after graduating from the University of Sunderland in 2015, and works for The Scotsman. A self-confessed food addict, who is yet to turn down a drink, she loves exploring new restaurants – especially if they have good steak or BBQ on the menu. She likes to pretend she can bake – bookmarking hundreds of recipes - but has never really achieved anything other than a good chocolate orange cupcake.

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