The first imaginative move for Britain's most important year in coffee is now being planned in the shape of the proposed Bath Coffee Festival, which is set for 15-16 May next year.
The project is in line with recent calls for the British beverage industry, and every caterer who has ambitions to serve quality coffee, to make the most of the coming 2010 World Barista Championship, which will be held in the UK for the first time.
Britain currently has the reigning world barista champ, produced the 2007 world champion, and is at present rated as ‘top coffee nation' in the rankings, which are produced by compiling the scores from all international beverage contests.
The concept of a coffee event open to the public has been most successfully achieved in Australia, where the Sydney Rocks Aroma Festival draws tens of thousands of visitors, with coffee roasters offering specialty brews at very low prices and makers of domestic coffee machines strongly represented. That event includes live entertainment and, most recently, has drawn in beverage exhibitors from different international cultures.
The Bath project is being run by Linda Donaldson of Geometry, a local press agency which has some experience in running community events. The Bath festival will be held in the Kingston Parade/York St area, next to the Abbey and the Roman baths, and should allow for a hundred or so stalls.
The project already has the interest of the city's business organisations as, besides promoting the coffee trade, it aims to promote Bath as a venue, support local businesses, and put at least half of the profits into local community projects and charities.
Steve Penk of Chesterfield-based espresso machine maker La Spaziale, the chairman of the World Barista Championship, has said that 2010 will offer the biggest promotional opportunity ever offered for the beverage industry, with even the smallest cafés having the opportunity to benefit.
By Ian Houghton