5 Cool Things We Saw at World of Coffee Copenhagen

Brewing coffee for WOC attendees.

The World of Coffee, an annual trade event organized by the Specialty Coffee Association, took place June 27-29 in Denmark at the Bella Center Copenhagen.

BY ISABELLE MANI
SPECIAL TO BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE

World of Coffee Copenhagen was a true playground for coffee people. The event allowed everyone to catch up on market innovations and new releases, and get acquainted with the coolest trends, from professional-grade machines and gadgets for home brewers to experimental fermentations in micro-lots presented by roasters worldwide.

The event is also a meeting point where many business deals and international relations are forged between brands, companies, technology providers, roasters, and global producers. Moreover, it’s a chance for the coffee community to connect and reconnect socially—and celebrate it. The vibe was celebratory and light, full of support and community spirit, with contests, cuppings, and after-parties. And, of course, there was plenty of camaraderie and excitement in the area where the World Coffee Championships were held.

Stronghold Roasters included mini coffee cups on their lanyards. Photo by Isabelle Mani.

At World of Coffee, the Hygge is Real

The energy of Copenhagen amplified the festive atmosphere; with Denmark being one of the top coffee-consuming nations globally, its capital’s specialty-coffee scene is characterized by gentle, smiling people who embrace the slow coffee enjoyment in a relaxed and welcoming manner.

We at Barista Magazine Online have put together a two-part series highlighting the top-10 trends and highlights from the event. Today’s part one captures the buzz of everything fun, modern, coffee-nerdy, and innovative that happened at the Bella Center’s corridors, parties, and social scenes.

Part two, coming soon, will take a deeper dive into the essential discussions that shaped the event, focusing on hot topics like cutting-edge sustainability initiatives, advancements in circular economy practices, and fresh insight into the diverse layers of the coffee market.

Mahlkönig’s tattoo booth was extremely popular. Photo by Isabelle Mani.

1.   Swag Fever

Popular swag this year included coffee-flavored chapsticks produced with coffee byproducts (Toddy), the small coffee cups attached to lanyards in an Oktoberfest style from South Korea’s Stronghold Roasters (fun fact: I initially thought it was a spit cup for cuppings), pink stainless-steel water bottles (by the sponsor BWT), and coffee-themed cool socks (Comandante, Cropster, and Cophi). And the frenzy over the popular Comandante wrist swag—a coffee-fair fan favorite—never fades.

But the undeniable winners of swag were the coffee-themed tattoos offered every two hours at the Mahlkönig booth—real ones made by a tattoo artist on-site. The brand, which celebrated its 100th birthday at the fair (more on that later), had one of the most visited booths at the event. The vibe was always high, with the sorting of names (papers placed in a huge grinder, naturally) happening to the sound of loud party tunes, and the brand’s emcees calling out the winners while standing on top of tables.

2.   The Pink Wave

“Pink is more than a color; it’s an attitude,” said Mads Maymann Jørgensen, BWT sales director. At World of Coffee, there wasn’t a soul who didn’t line up for the BWT pink water bottle and tote bag. Hario also took the pink-themed route for its booth.

There was also the all-pink-themed booth for Miss Moka Coffee, a coffee company that sources coffee only from women producers, which had a very popular spin-and-win roulette for winning gadgets.

Comandante’s bright colorways drew the eyes of the famous grinder’s fans. Photo by Isabelle Mani.

One of my favorite new products was the pink-colored Comandante C60 Baracuda. It is also Comandante’s high-performance manual coffee grinder with the most advanced burr set design ever released, said Joe McTaggart, the brand’s account manager. Weighting 1 kg and using processes normally reserved for high-performance motor parts, this is no beginner’s grinder.

3.   The Boozing Route

On the last day, I took two volunteers on what I named “the coffee booze route” tour. Having circumnavigated and tasted all the spirited coffee-related options on offer, I ranked my favorites and took my test subjects for the ride.

As a testament to Copenhagen’s relaxed vibe, the bar at the Specialty Coffee Association chill-out area began serving alcohol at 4 p.m., while “coffee on hygge spirits” offered by the exhibitors of the Roaster Village was available throughout the day. Even the Retail Buyers Lounge schedule included happy-hour sessions. Shout out to the List + Beisler booth, which had a DJ playing full-time on its “rooftop” and hosted a fun cocktail party on the second day that lasted until 7 p.m. (the event ended at 5).

These are my top-three spirited coffee-inspired drinks.

Philip Vu and Laura Alayab try out A Planter’s Daughter cascara-infused tequila cocktail. Photo by Isabelle Mani.

Fairy-Tale Cascara Cocktails

The booth from Indian company A Planter’s Daughter had an almost hypnotizing effect on people. Like an Avalon trance, the booth was always crowded due to its irresistible small cocktail cups with an Alphonse Mucha-inspired design and overall flowery, feminine decor. Their signature drink was a cascara-infused tequila cocktail.

The brand has a wellness approach over coffee products, and its owner, Sonali Balakrishna, is a fifth-generation farmer. She told me she focused on cascara tea with auditions such as adaptogens and medicinal mushrooms (maybe that explains the trance vibe). I loved how much the booth stood out and how unique it was, and most importantly, that the brand pledges 5% of the revenue of every sale to anti-human-trafficking agencies.

Gesha sour beers from Hamburg’s Elbgold Direct Trade Specialty Coffee Roastery. Photo by Isabelle Mani.

The Gesha Beer

I must confess that I got completely hooked on the Gesha sour beer created by Elbgold Direct Trade Specialty Coffee Roastery from Hamburg, Germany. As a sour and wit beer lover, I couldn’t wait for happy hour to allow myself to drink their beer, brewed with coffee extracted from Gesha arabica beans. I took everyone I knew there, including my test subjects—they loved it, too.

The Full Punch Espresso Martini Shots

They did it again. It took me almost two days to learn that the guys from Elbgold were also serving a draught espresso martini option, so hooked was I on their Gesha beer. The espresso martini was everything I hoped for: perfectly foamy, creamy, and cold.

Elbgold’s bottled espresso martini didn’t disappoint. Photo courtesy of Elbgold.

I saw many state-of-the-art automated drip machines at the show, all with their own complexities. One had so many metrics, rules, and possibilities to control the brew that it felt a bit overwhelming to learn to operate it. There were also industrial-scale cold-brew makers, and even a coffee bean blender for smoothies!

But my focus was on discovering the up-and-coming novelties from home brewers like myself. These were my favorites.

Improving water quality is a growing trend in specialty, with the Penguin table water filter from BWT as an example. Photo by Isabelle Mani.

Water Matters

What’s the sense in buying and brewing the most exquisite, expensive, and complex-flavored specialty coffee beans in the world if the brew can be seriously compromised by improper water? That’s why I loved the water filtered by The Penguin table water filter from BWT, including one magnesium mineralized water cartridge. Mads told me that they wanted to create a product that would highlight coffee’s flavor profile, and magnesium added to the newest version reduces the pH level.

Volcano cups are engineered to improve the sensorial experience of coffee drinking. Photo by Isabelle Mani.

Volcano Cups

I’m a simple gal when it comes to coffee cups and mugs, but I have a soft spot for handleless small cups. I’m crazy about all ceramic appliances, but the slanted top-edged cups from the Italian brand Clubhouse stole my heart immediately.

Their Volcani line consists of two cups, and sipping from the lowest part enhances sensorial characteristics. They come in five sizes ranging from 3 oz to 9 oz, perfectly balancing espresso and milk—and I just had to buy one (in pink).

Sock Love

Polish brand Cophied (created ”by Baristas for Baristas”) boasts rad and fun designs. It’s absolutely impossible not to love them—they’re super cool.

Cophied socks are designed by baristas and come in myriad fun designs. Photo by Isabelle Mani.

5.   The Coffee Party People

The Fridge Attack

The immersive Copenhagen coffee people partying experience had to include craft beers, as the city is renowned for being one of the greatest artisanal beer producers. The Mahlkönig 100 after-party hosted by Standart magazine coincided with what locals described as one of the hottest summer days they could remember.

Held in the Mikkeller brewery warehouse located in Baghaven, the event took place in an area traditionally bustling with summer docks where bars and food trucks operate seasonally. The long queues and hot temperatures, mixed with an open bar party, enticed attendees to help themselves to a fridge stocked with Mikkeller’s state-of-the-art beers and sodas.

Cheers at the La Marzocco party. Photo by Isabelle Mani.

Let Them Eat Merch

The La Marzocco party was held on the second day, at a patio in the building where the Italian giant manufacturer set up their own World of Coffee week headquarters, on the opposite side of town.

Renowned for their party-throwing skills, La Marzocco didn’t disappoint. Upon entry, guests received chips exchangeable for negronis, and a hamburger truck was on hand.

The DJ played loud bangers that kept negroni lovers’ spirits high despite the queues.

The outdoor Mahlkönig party. Photo by Isabelle Mani.

However, the highlight of the night was when the La Marzocco team channeled Marie Antoinette with a ”let them eat cake” (or catch the biscuit) moment: They threw the brand’s T-shirts from three different floors, causing the crowd to go wild.

I quickly sought cover, mindful not to get stepped on—or worse, end up with a black eye—knowing there was still much of World of Coffee to explore. Fortunately, my friend Massimo from the Cafezal Milano specialty-coffee cafè chain managed to grab one for me.

The WCC Barista Graduation Ball

The WCC Barista party took place at the Copenhagen Concert Hall on the final day of the event. Attendees arrived a bit late for an important reason: Denmark was playing against Germany in the UEFA Euro 2024 tournament, and many groups were watching the match on their phones. However, the crowd eventually grew, and by the end, the dance floor was packed until 2 a.m.

The WCC party’s dance floor was packed. Photo by Isabelle Mani.

Breakdance circles, people taking the stage to dance with the DJ, and even some shirtless revelers exemplified the high spirits of the three-day event.

It was a memorable wrap-up, and now we must wait until the next World of Coffee event in Geneva, Switzerland, scheduled for June 26-28, 2025.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Isabelle Mani (she/her) is a writer, journalist, and communicator specializing in the international coffee industry. Since 2017, she has focused on writing articles and features for various international coffee news outlets. Isabelle has traveled to coffee-producing countries such as Colombia, Kenya, Rwanda, China, and Brazil to study and research coffee. She holds training certifications from the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) and the Coffee Quality Institute (Arabica Q Grading).

Cover of June + July 2024 issue of Barista Magazine featuring Mikael Jasin of Indonesia.

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