Following the resounding success and sellout at last year’s inaugural Glasgow Coffee Festival, a group of Scottish coffee professionals is reprising the event on Oct. 17 at The Briggait, a creative hub in the heart of the city.
This year’s festival includes the first UK Coffee Roasting Championship sanctioned by the Specialty Coffee Association of Europe, with support from a list of sponsors that includes Diedrich, Falcon Specialty, Mercanta, La Marzocco, Espresso Solutions, Dear Green Coffee Roasters, Coffee Nexus and Bunn. With the SCAE involvement, the winning roaster will move on to the World Roasting Championship, beginning next March 29 in conjunction with HOTELEX event in Shanghai, China.
Unfortunately, because of the size and limited time of the Glasgow event, the competition could only accommodate eight contestant roasters this year, and registration was full within 48 hours of the show’s announcement. Participating roasters will square off by roasting specific coffees supplied by Mercanta and Falcon inside a Diedrich IR-5.
Dear Green Founder and Head Roaster Lisa Lawson, who’s taken the organizational lead for the festival, told Daily Coffee News that based on the success of last year and the early interest this year from both industry and consumers, she’s already considering expanding next year’s event to two days.
“The specialty coffee industry didn’t exist in Glasgow until around four years ago and has gradually gained momentum and a consumer following ever since,” Lawson said via email. “The growth has had as much to do with a grassroots local culture as it has with an international influence and our world of communication and media being generally smaller. But it still has a long way to go to bring better quality coffee to the mainstream and a respect and an appreciation for why a coffee product is better.”
In addition to the roasting competition, the Glasgow Coffee Festival will include an expo hall with vendors, numerous demonstrations, cuppings and master classes in coffee, as well as an array of food and drink offerings from local, independent vendors. More than just an industry-facing event, Lawson said it is designed also to connect consumers to specialty coffee as a product, and just as importantly to the people locally who are themselves part of a much larger chain.
“There is definitely a market for growth in Scotland and more general interest in more interesting coffees and why they are delicious and why this is important to make our world of coffee sustainable,” Lawson said. “Hopefully our independent festival to support independents will be a tool to impart education, knowledge, and passion and maintain the local interest in an amazing product.”
Tickets are now on sale for £10 plus a booking fee at glasgowcoffeefestival.com.