Yesterday Edd and myself visited the Caffe Culture show in London. It’s the largest coffee show in the UK and has a good variety of stands in everything from roasting equipment and espresso machines through to small foods suppliers and ancillary support companies.
It’s good to see coffee machine innovation continuing. In the espresso machines themselves, several companies are beginning to offer automatic steam wands that stop when finished and entrain air internally, freeing up barista time. However, it looks like more work is required to up to foam quality for true microfoam. Many makers are tending towards individual temperature control on each brew group, which means each group can be set to extract the best out of a specific roast.
The bean to cup market is looking quite mature now, with movements mainly in better milk management and easier cleaning without having to disassemble the machine. However there were some interesting innovations such as Scanomat’s top brewer, made as a counter with a single tap coming out of it. Of course, you can control this with your iphone!
There appeared to be a good level of interest in smaller roasting machines, represented by queues at the roasting stands. There appears to be a growing trend of cafés owning their own roaster, putting it in the front window to sell their coffee offering.
Tea also had a big presence at the show, and was being touted as being a good thing to boost café business. However, whilst there was excellent offering of good tea leaf, there seemed to be a lack of innovations in the brewing equipment side, either from espresso machine makers or anyone else. One shop-owner mentioned his biggest problem was delivering good quality tea, quickly and ready to drink, yet tasting any better than a tea bag in a mug of water. Sounds like an opportunity to us!