Six months today, our very first Coffee Festival will take place on 3 October in the Mansfield Traquair. I caught up with Annie Wheeler, one of the event organisers, to find out what’s happening and how plans are progressing.
Having been sustained in Edinburgh by a handful of high quality coffee shops for nearly seven years, I'm very happy to see the recent dramatic growth of interest and investment in great coffee. Our best coffee shops are on a par with those in coffee havens like Melbourne, Portland and London – they've just got a lot more of them! I believe having our very own Coffee Festival is another important step in recognising the excellent quality we already have as well as continuing to educate and foster coffee appreciation within Edinburgh and Scotland. I've no doubt that Edinburgh can become a coffee destination, as we are for so many other amazing events and experiences.
What is it?On 3 October the Edinburgh Coffee Festival will take over the Mansfield Traquair to celebrate coffee in Edinburgh and Scotland. A range of coffee-related providers, artisans and suppliers will come together to share their knowledge via demonstrations and workshops and their wares via tasting and purchase. There’ll also be some tea and chocolate purveyors for those whose taste buds need something different.
The focus is on the great quality and expertise in Scotland and Edinburgh’s independent coffee world - roasters, baristi, equipment, competitions and industry knowledge. No major coffee chains will be anywhere near this event (thankfully as that would totally undermine the quality in my opinion).
Who’s organising it?Project R Events are the team behind the event (Annie, Martin and Jennifer). They’re a sister company of Scottish event managers Rural Projects, so organising is core to their being.
According to Annie they came up with the idea of the Edinburgh Coffee Festival because they’re passionate about coffee and thought Scotland, and specifically Edinburgh, have a lot to offer. As event organisers by trade, they have all the skills needed to pull together, run and publicise an event and aim to combine their skills with local coffee experts to create a great experience.
Annie was clear that “they’re not coffee experts. They love coffee and are passionate about the independent expertise we have in Edinburgh and Scotland and want to show case that”. So they’re facilitating the process by taking the event idea and making it happen in partnership with local coffee experts.
Who from our coffee scene will be involved?Annie and the team are currently meeting with folk from our coffee community to shape up the event. They’re aiming to balance high quality and variety so visitors have a great experience. As more stall-holders, speakers and demonstrators come on board, they’ll publicise them.
So far Cairngorm Coffee (Edinburgh), Home Ground Coffee (Cardross) and Roast Central (Falkirk - and you can sample this now at Cobolt Coffee) are involved. And Roast Den (East Kilbride) will sponsor a Lever Espresso Machine Barista Championship at the Festival.
In addition, the event will partner with Mercy Corps, Edinburgh’s international charity, to highlight the work they do with coffee growers around the world.