By Ronița Dragomir
It’s been a little over a week now since this year’s London Coffee Festival went digital. As someone who’s binged most of its content (with tiny bathroom breaks here and there), I thought it might be fun to share some of my favourites with you, fellow coffee lover who is currently reading this!
Before we get to it, however, I feel it’s only right to mention how much I appreciated and enjoyed to see somewhat of a change in the lineup scheduling, in order to include a wider array of topics, some of which, I’m sure we can all agree, were much needed and long overdue.
From what I could tell after watching Friday’s talks and some Fringe events throughout the weekend, the first thing that stood out was the general shift to a more hands-on approach by making quality coffee skills a lot more accessible to the average consumer and helping to demystify the world of specialty coffee for whoever’s on the other side of the window, looking in.
I remember a time when I, too, was an absolute novice in this industry and felt completely overwhelmed by the sheer amount of rules and information that was going around. Most people I would meet at these sort of events were champions or the usual coffee experts. It made mustering the courage to ask questions much more tricky and don’t even get me started on how much I felt the burden of my gender during those first few years, but that was then and I know better now. The feelings I’ve felt, however, will never leave me and I’m sure there’s more people like me out there for which joining the specialty coffee family can be quite intimidating – you’re not alone!
But before this piece quickly gets away from me, let’s get started on that list I mentioned.
One of my favourite talks during this year’s festival has got to be the “Making Space – Inclusion in Coffee & Hospitality: A Panel Discussion “ where Lorraine Copes, (Founder of Be Inclusive Hospitality), Amani Kiflemariam (Founder & CEO of Amatte), Christen Dali (My Lifeline Coldbrew Coffee), Julius Ibrahim (Second Shot Coffee) alongside Celeste Wong (@The_Girl_In_The_Cafe – obviously!) addressed the topic of racial and gender equality, as well as diversity and representation within the UK coffee scene. It was a truly important and powerful panel that I recommend watching, in case you’ve missed it live. I would personally love to see more panels like this in the future, maybe even during The Global Coffee Festival Live in September, wouldn’t that be something?