Caffè Culture 2010 comes to London's Olympia on 23-25 June bringing with it thousands of products, from coffee and espresso machines to tea and cakes. Here's a taster of what's on offer from more than 250 exhibitors.
1. ANFIM UK
It is well known among caterers who care about their coffee that an absolutely vital process, which can make or break the drink they serve to customers, is the grinding of the bean.
The Anfim brand will introduce the new Barista model, which not only lays claim to an extreme precision of grind but also offers a most unusual waste-saving solution. It has been said that caterers lose a surprising amount of money in the coffee that other grinders spill across the counter-top, but that the Anfim is now the grinder which most accurately deposits all its ground coffee exactly where it is required: into the brewing handle and not on the worktop.
2. BEYOND THE BEAN/BYRON BAY COOKIES
The Australian company that devised the concept of the limited-edition, premium-price cookie is at the show both in its own right and with its UK distributor, Beyond the Bean. Byron Bay launched the idea a year ago as an attention-getting selling point but, to the company's surprise, one of the range has had to become "unlimited" - the strawberries and clotted cream cookie, which was supposed to have a life of only four months, will become part of the full all-year range.
That cookie featured pieces of real strawberries, clotted cream from dairies local to the bakehouse and pieces of white chocolate, which created a distinctive light biscuit, and was intended to be sold around the time of the Wimbledon tennis championship. However, some venues took it up enthusiastically and served the cookie as a set dish with an appropriate tea at an all-in price.
The next limited-edition cookie will be lemon and macadamia nut cheesecake.
3. BUNN CORPORATION America's Bunn Corporation, a pioneer of hi-tech bulk-brewing machines, is expected to draw great interest with its unexpected first move into the single-cup sector with the Trifecta machine. It allows for a remarkably high degree of control over the brewing of coffee at what is believed to be a far lower cost than other machines that have approached this market.
4. CAFÉ BAR
Café Bar will be launching the Enjoy bean-to-cup machine for those who want a small-volume solution - up to about 140 a day - but also need the flexibility of 15 preprogrammed coffee and chocolate recipes.
5. CREAM SUPPLIES
A move that could have been predicted in both coffee and cocktails has been the arrival of molecular gastronomy, as practised by Heston Blumenthal and Ferran Adrià - who has, of course, worked with Lavazza on developing coffee techniques. Cream Supplies has been the first company to promote the equipment and supplies to the beverage trade, and will be hosting coffee making and molecular beverage demonstrations and tastings throughout the show. We can expect to see coffee prepared in differing textures, including gels and foams.
6. CREM INTERNATIONAL
Crem International, the new name for Style Café of Lancashire, is launching a range of espresso, fresh-brew, instant and bean-to-cup machines under the Expobar name.
Another launch is a new solution to the perennial problem of take-away tea: the Tea2Fly is a new kind of take-away lid which features an inner membrane that stops tea leaves - or, in a matching product, coffee grounds - reaching the mouth of the drinker.
7. DALLA CORTE UK
Dalla Corte is the espresso machine company that made its reputation by proclaiming the need for absolute precision of temperature at the point of brewing espresso. This started a virtual revolution in espresso, with baristas and machine-makers alike debating how one degree or less can make such a dramatic difference to the quality and taste of a coffee.
This year, Dalla Corte will be showing a semi-automatic machine, and says it has achieved the balancing act of a machine that allows great flexibility of temperature and other brewing parameters, but does so in an uncomplicated way with fewer operational elements for the benefit of everyday catering staff.
8. DRINK ME CHAI
The idea of chai, the traditional drink of the roadside tea stalls of India, is that it is a hot and spicy drink that has the unexpected effect of cooling the body.
The inventor of powdered chai, Amanda Hamilton, has now turned the concept round and will launch a ready-to-drink chilled chai latte in a bottle. She points out that in India there is also a yogurt and spice blend that is drunk to cool the palate after spicy food, so the concept is not totally foreign to the principle of chai.
9. DRURY TEA & COFFEE COMPANY
Drury is unusual in being a coffee roaster with its own tea laboratory, and it is launching a new range that features striking art deco packaging. The idea is to re-create the golden age of the 1930s during which the company was founded.
The new range of tagged and enveloped tea bags features old favourites English Breakfast, Earl Grey, Assam and Darjeeling and new infusions of chamomile, lemon and ginger, peppermint, and jasmine.
10. FRANKE COFFEE SYSTEMS
Although it is an overused line to say that a product launch is "long awaited", advance word of the Pura coffee machine range has aroused genuine interest. The range is designed for hotels or restaurants where daily demand is about 200 cups, but where variation and flexibility are required, so there are options for type of bean, powdered or fresh milk, and additional flavours.
For locations where fresh milk is impractical, there is a new patent-pending instant milk-powder system; the bean hoppers are designed for easy removal without the common problem of spillage out of the bottom; and servicing and cleaning is straightforward.
The Foam Master programmable milk system claims "new standards in the art of frothing milk" for an automatic machine; and a novel innovation is the Flavour Station, which allows for a three-way choice of additional flavoured syrup to be automatically added to a coffee.
11. GRUMPY MULE DISTINCTIVE COFFEE
There is a defiant food service launch from Grumpy Mule, which has, up to now, been the high-class retail brand of Bolling, the Yorkshire coffee roasters. It is no secret, says the roaster, that the catering trade often receives bulk-standard coffee, which may well have an ethical certification, but which falls short in terms of taste and quality. By contrast, Grumpy Mule's range is sourced from farms that the company's directors have personally visited and picked out as producing a crop which can truly be called speciality coffee, and which have achieved the major ethical certifications (Fairtrade, Organic, Rainforest Alliance, Cup of Excellence).
The range was originally intended for the deli trade. It achieved the only three-starred gold prize at last year's Great Taste awards and is sold by 200 retail stockists. Now it is making its first appearance in food service.
12. HANDMADE CAKE COMPANY
The cupcake rose to prominence in the more fashionable tea salons last year and is expected to become a mainstream tea item this year. The key difference between a cupcake and a fairy cake is in the topping - cupcakes are generously topped, and twice the size of a fairy cake.
In the USA, where they are very fashionable, the toppings are thought to be far too sickly for British tastes. In the UK, the Handmade Cake Company saw the trend coming last year, but this is the first beverage show appearance for its various collections of cupcakes. Typically, the "naturally pretty vanilla cupcake" collection is of pink, light green, yellow and a marbled pink-and-white icing with natural sprinkles and hand-piped buttercream icing. The fruit and carrot collection is lemon, raspberry buttercream, blueberry and carrot.
The company thinks that hotels and tearooms could sell them individually for £1.80. There is also the suggestion that caterers could offer to box up a selection for take-away sales, a tactic that has been seen in several tearooms.
13. LINCOLN & YORK
This coffee roaster is one of the most significant suppliers of own-brand and private-label coffees to the catering industry - but the big launch is not a coffee; it is a solution to the fraught problem of finding an environmentally acceptable coffee packaging that still has the right qualities to keep the contents fresh. Catering-trade coffee has traditionally been packed in foil, but this is not ecologically satisfactory. The answer, it is now thought, is in a two-layer structure of "metalised" cellophane and a sealing layer of corn and potato starch, both of which are compostable.
This company was a pioneer of "grind on demand", where small quantities of coffee can be ground to exactly the quantity and precision required, which saves wastage and aids freshness. The company has now taken the concept further and will introduce the ProM grinder, a small machine that brings the concept within reach of the business serving fewer than 200 espresso coffees a day but nevertheless requiring high standards of grinding.
15. MARCO BEVERAGE SYSTEMS
This Dublin company was among the first to come up with a precision brewing system for filter coffee, and this year's show should feature the improved version of its Uber Brewer, which can best, if unscientifically, be described as a kind of infinitely adjustable hot tap in which the flow of water and temperature can be adjusted to an unusually fine degree.
It is possible that the Uber Grinder might also make its first appearance at the show. Marco's Filtro Shuttle, the brewer with mobile urn for remote locations, which has been well received in the conference market, will also be shown in its improved programmable version.
16. METROPOLITAN KIMBO
The London coffee company Metropolitan was recently taken over by the Italian espresso brand Kimbo, and is launching two products, one for the high-volume end of the catering trade and one for the low-volume end. A new Kimbo espresso coffee comes in 3kg tins, a version of the idea invented by Illy, in which the operator unseals the tin, turns it upside down, and fits it to the top of the grinder. The idea is that, for a high-throughput business, it saves constantly refilling the grinder and keeps the beans fresh.
By contrast, Kimbo is also bringing in a low-cost single-serve idea for caterers who do a small number of espressos and for whom storing fresh beans is a nuisance. This is the latest of the capsule systems, first developed by Nespresso, and now available from several brands.
17. PATERSON ARRAN
An unusual addition to the trend towards big, single-packed biscuits comes from Paterson Arran. This is the launch of the Bronte Giant Cookies range, which includes maxi-size custard creams and bourbons. These are big biscuits, with a big individual price - maybe as high as 95p each, says the company.
18. ROMBOUTS COFFEE
Rombouts will be showing a range of Gold Cup packages - this refers to the Speciality Coffee Association's name for its guidelines for filter coffee brewing - and Rombouts contends that those in the food service trade who are prepared to invest another couple of pence per cup will find they can move up from "standard" quality to "exceptional", with a more than proportional increase in revenue.
19. SPECIALITY BREADS
The concept of bake-off has been established for years, but what this company has done is to create an exceptionally wide range of frozen breads and rolls, including ciabattas and focaccias, baps, paninis, baguettes, and newcomers such as a multi-grain cottage-loaf roll. Some are defrost-and-serve, some require a little more preparation, but essentially the result is a "fresh" appearance to put in front of the customer.
A new addition is the Naked Danish, a pastry that began life in Denmark, which arrives at the caterer frozen, requires 18 minutes' baking and is then freshly decorated with icing, which is provided.
This is a product launch which questions several well-loved British traditions. According to Australian tea merchant Ian Bersten, it is a myth that tea should be brewed for 3-5 minutes; it is a fantasy that large-leaf tea is better than small-leaf tea; and it is a fairytale that brewing in a pot is the best method.
Bersten's Tea-Cha method employs a kind of filter system: it is a conical container with a fine mesh filter in the base above a single hole. The container is placed on top of a tea cup, 2-3g of fine tea is placed on the mesh, and hot water is poured straight through and into the cup. The advantages of this "leaching" (extraction by flowing water) are proved, he says, by the fact that his method can achieve a good brew even from a spent tea bag.
The most irreverent company in the tea trade is launching Matcha to the trade. This is a new "in" drink, which Teapigs refers to as "the superhero of modern tea", having 137 times the antioxidant value of normal tea.
It's made of organic green tea leaves ground into a concentrated powder. It is grown under cover in Japan, and very slowly ground by granite. It is said to raise energy levels while keeping you calm and to give a healthy metabolism boost. In the USA it can be found in cafés, health shops and smoothie bars and is apparently popular with celebrities.
Preparation involves 1g of Matcha in a shot glass and 30ml of water whisked together.
22. XING XING
The Xing Xing crockery company, which features some remarkably unusual designs, says that the rise in popularity of afternoon tea gave them outstanding business in cake stands last year, so the company will be launching new two-tier and three-tier round and square stands.