The Bath Coffee Festival has launched itself with all the ingredients for a flavoured latte and a biscuit on the side. The first four major sponsors to sign up have been announced as Taylerson's Malmesbury Syrups, coffee roaster Martin Carwardine, Gold Top Milk, and the Marshfield bakery.
The festival, the first consumer-aimed event in Britain to feature speciality coffee, will run on over 15-16 May next year.
It already has the backing of the Bath business community and local schools, who will take part in educational programmes based on coffee. Regional companies from pasty makers to transport companies have taken an interest, and there have already been enquiries from potential exhibitors in Australia. The event is committed to putting half of its profits back into local charities and community work.
The Bath festival is expected to host around 100 exhibitors in the city centre, while other venues around the city will host coffee-related activities and events.
Consumers will be able to learn about barista work in making espressos, coffee roasting, and latte art. There will be educational talks, films about coffee, and music from the coffee growing regions.
According to West Country coffee roaster Martin Carwardine: "It's a great idea to celebrate the product. We have wine festivals, beer festivals and cider festivals but no coffee ones! I think it will be grand to be able to talk about our role in the chain from plant to cup, and I really hope that this will be a great success and will become a regular thing."
Among the contributions from the coffee industry is a project by Metropolitan Coffee of London, which is planning to demonstrate the importance of coffee-house work to the national employment situation by training six unemployed youths to barista standard, and working to place them in local catering positions.
Exhibitor booking is now open, and it is possible to keep up with the festival news on Twitter.
Geometry of Bath is organising the event. :
By Ian Boughton