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Fancy a coffee?

The inaugural South West Coffee Festival, held at Powderham Castle, was everything a lover of the black stuff could hope for.

people browsing at a festival

I’m just back from a delicious, caffeine-fuelled morning of sniffing, slurping and savouring the black stuff.  This mini-festival is the first of its kind for the south west and is geared up both for local trade to network and for coffee lovers to broaden their knowledge of how to brew the perfect cup.  Held in the grounds of Powderham, it made for a pretty good Saturday for the whole famalam.

coffee pack shots

I say mini, because it takes place all under one roof (yes, there’s a roof, which was handy today), in the castle’s Riding Stables.  Some of Devon’s top local producers, like Owens Coffee, (deserving Muddy Awards Finalists), exhibited alongside some relative newbies like Exeter-based Littlestone, as well as roasters from Cornwall and Dorset all happily frothing up cup after cup for visitors.

people browsing a coffee festival

There were coffee cupping demonstrations, latte art throwdowns and opportunities to just hang out, picking the brains of the experts.  I love coffee, (have done since growing up with the smooooooth Gold Blend adverts, yep I’m that old), but knew zilch about it, apart from the fact that it comes from a bean; but the pro’s at Buckfastleigh-based Voyager Coffee happily enlightened me on the differences between dark and medium roast, arabica and robusta (arabica variety grows at a higher altitude, I’ll have you know) and where the best beans are grown (Ethiopia still grows the best of the beans). I’m now a pro myself, as you can tell.

cold brew coffee

Among the roasters, I ferreted out locally baked goodies, artisan chocolate and a few indie’s taking the love of the coffee bean to another level, like Conker Spirit, a cold brew coffee liqueur, and 918 Coffee’s nitro & cold brew coffee.

But the Muddy prize for coolest, most eye-catching stand goes to Ecoffee Cup, with their array of rather beautiful to drink from reusable coffee cups.

selection of brightly coloured blue reusable coffee cups in various designs

On a mission to do something about the 100 billion single-use cups that end up on landfill each year, they’ve come up with some brilliant designs and colours for their cups which are made from naturally organic and naturally sterile bamboo. And at just a tenner a pop (for the standard latte-sized ones), it’s a small price to pay, I reckon.  So that’s me sorted for Monday morning.

Starts 10am.  Tickets available on the day, or visit: swcoffeefest.com where you’ll also see what’s on.

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Devon