This post ended up being a lot longer than I anticipated, but when I talk about food I tend to be really descriptive. We covered caffeine in Part 1, so now we can cover the other things that go into making caffeinated beverages amazing!
Milk One of the reasons I had so many coffees, and ended up having the whole beverage, was the different types of milks. My favorite was the oat milk latte. I’ve been a fan of oat milk since I tried it in 2014, but even so, I was impressed at how far it’s come. I remember oat milk being a bit chalky, but its natural sweetness made it indulgent in my Sunday morning tea. Oatly! does an amazing oat milk which froths amazingly, I was legitimately impressed.
Also worth my attention was Rude Health’s hazelnut milk. It was smooth, with no funny stuff coating your mouth after (which can happen with fillers and thickeners other brands may use), and the flavor was light enough to appreciate the hazelnut, but not heavy enough to take away from the coffee. I tried it cold and warm (don’t boil it if you’re going to heat it!!), and could only imagine how amazing it would be with Hotel Chocolat’s 70% Hot Chocolate! Alpro‘s almond milk, which isn’t out yet and won’t be to consumers for a bit, is free of fillers and thickeners. As someone who’s never cared for almond milk, Alpro’s was pretty darn good.
I learned a lot about Jersey cow milk, the fat:protein ratio really does make a difference in flavor and consistency! After ACF, I definitely will be more attuned to where the milk in my flat white comes from!
Water I was really excited for the water workshops, but in my haze and daze and excitement, I lost track of time and wasn’t able to attend any! I changed up my water filter game late last year and it made a striking difference in my morning coffee. I never appreciated how contributory water is to coffee, even though it makes up the majority of the beverage!
Barista Championships I enjoyed watching a few of the stellar baristas duke it out for the title of champion. I would have loved to watch every single competitor, but I only had a day to do everything. Fifteen minutes to make 3 coffee beverages (espresso, milk-based coffee drink, and a specialty), while discussing their coffee. The discussion part was quite intriguing- one barista who spoke on sustainable coffee farming particularly caught my attention- as was the nuances of each barista’s technique. Espresso pulling and coffee making was taken up to an art form by these people!
Community The overall sense of community during ACF was really meaningful to me. There were people from all over the world. Literally. They’d come from every corner to take part in this and share their passion with like-minded people.
I could go on and on about ACF, but I’ll keep it to those main points. London Coffee Festival is just a couple short weeks away, and I plan to gather more information as I’ll be more prepared. And I will certainly pace myself with the caffeine.