Norwich to host festival celebrating coffee

Whether it is a cappuccino, espresso or just a regular cup of coffee, almost everyone enjoys a caffeine fix – and Norwich is soon to host a special celebration of the hot drink.

The Norfolk Coffee Festival – a one-day event dedicated to the art of coffee-making – is to take place at The Space, in Rowntree Way, on March 3, and it is hoped it will become an annual event.

The festival will include the Speciality Coffee Association of Europe's UK Barista Regional Championships where 13 baristas, including three from Norfolk, will compete for a place in the national final.

Richard Norman, managing director of Roydon-based company Mad About Coffee, is the organiser of the festival and he said he was excited about the prospect of putting Norwich on the coffee map.

He said: 'We have never had a coffee festival here. Well we have now.

'Coffee is one of the oldest drinks and like tea and wine it can be so varied. There is surely a cup of coffee out there for everyone. There are so many different types of coffee that I am still enjoying looking for my favourite one.'

Mr Norman said coffee culture was booming, so the idea behind the festival was to raise standards in the coffee trade and give coffee drinkers more of an insight into the craft of coffee-making.

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'Often people go to a coffee bar and enjoy a cup of coffee, but don't really think much more about it, but when you look behind the coffee there is so much there and we want to show people that,' he said.

He said there would be lots of coffee-related stands at the festival and lots of great cups of coffee.

'It is a fantastic networking opportunity for all those in the coffee trade and a great day out for families and coffee enthusiasts alike,' he said.

About the barista championships, he said: 'It is the Masterchef of coffee-making. Each barista will have to make four espressos, four cappuccinos and four signature drinks with a coffee base in 15 minutes and to a very high standard.'

He said the competitors would need to impress both sensory judges, looking at the taste and quality of the drink, and technical judges, looking at the whole coffee-making process.

The competitors from Norfolk are Alex Sargeant from Strangers Coffee House and Thomas Kittle and Emma Seaman from City College Norwich.

Mr Norman, who has won a regional silver award in the barista championships previously, said: 'It is very nerve-wracking but it is good fun. The idea is to bring up the standards in the coffee trade and it is open for the public to watch so we hope lots of people will come and support the baristas.'

The festival will be at The Space, Roundtree Way, Norwich, and is open to the public from 9am until 4pm. The barista chamionships will begin at 9.30am.

If you would like to get involved in the festival call Mr Norman on 07970 291448 or email servicing@madaboutcoffee.eu. It will cost �15 to have a pitch at the event or �20 for a pitch with electricity.

Are you setting up a new festival in Norwich? Call reporter Emma Knights on 01603 772428 or email emma.knights@archant.co.uk

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