The Birmingham Coffee Festival Returns in July

From industry-exclusive insights to eco-friendly initiatives and exciting competitions, the festival promises three days of coffee, community, and connection.

BY VASILEIA FANARIOTI
SENIOR ONLINE CORRESPONDENT

Photos courtesy of Cup North

The Birmingham Coffee Festival is back, and it promises to be an event that coffee lovers won’t want to miss. Scheduled to take place July 5-7 at The New Bingley Hall, this year’s festival kicks off with an exclusive industry-only session on July 5 before opening its doors to the public for a coffee-fueled weekend.

Cup North, an events company dedicated to promoting specialty coffee across the U.K. and Ireland, is the mastermind behind this celebration. Founded in 2014 by Hannah Davies and Ricardo Gandara, Cup North has established itself as a successful coffee events company, with notable projects such as the Manchester Coffee Festival, Dublin Coffee Festival, the coffee competition Extracted Development, the coffee podcast Brewing It Over, and the newly added Queer Coffee Collective.

With over 60 exhibitors showcasing top-notch coffee and delectable treats at the Birmingham Coffee Festival, visitors can expect a sensory overload. Let’s see what the festival has in store!

Three people slurp coffee at a cupping at last year's BCF.
Dive deep into the world of coffee with industry experts at the exclusive Industry Day at the start of the Birmingham Coffee Festival. 

An Industry Day Not to Be Missed

A notable addition to this year’s Birmingham Coffee Festival is the exclusive Industry Day on July 5, designed specifically for professionals within the coffee sector. The day is packed with insightful talks and panels, interactive demos, and immersive tasting experiences. Attendees can look forward to sessions such as “The Rise of the Robusta Revolution,“ “Building the Sustainability of Coffee Through the Power of Radio,“ and “Automation in Coffee Equipment: What Does It Mean?“

The Tasting Room will be another highlight, providing a guided sensory experience with experts. Royalty Specialty Coffee and Langdon Coffee Merchants will showcase their finest brews, offering a diverse range of samples through coffee cupping. Furthermore, the new Demo Space offers businesses without exhibitor stalls a platform to showcase their latest products and innovations. Brew It Group will host interactive sessions, allowing attendees to get hands-on with cutting-edge coffee equipment and techniques. Industry Day is a must-attend for coffee professionals eager to gain new insights, network with peers, and discover the latest trends and technologies in the coffee world.

Competitors brewing during the Extracted Development competition.
Baristas showcase their skills in the highly anticipated Extracted Development competition, where coffee enthusiasts can witness the real-life behind-the-bar scene unfold on stage.

Extracted Development & New Additions 

One of the most anticipated highlights of the Birmingham Coffee Festival is the Extracted Development competition, set to take place July 6-7. Organized by Cup North, this competition brings together talented baristas and roasters from across the U.K. to showcase their skills in a dynamic, interactive format. Unlike traditional competitions, Extracted Development allows attendees to engage directly with competitors, taste their competition coffee at the brew bar, and vote for their favorite team.

Competitor applications are open until the end of May, and there is no fee to apply. This presents a fantastic opportunity for aspiring baristas and roasters looking to make their mark in the coffee industry. The stakes are high, with a grand prize of £1,000, plus other exciting rewards up for grabs. For those eager to step up their coffee career, this competition is a chance to shine and gain valuable exposure.

This year, the Birmingham Coffee Festival is also spotlighting holistic well-being with the introduction of a brand-new Wellbeing Zone, transforming the coffee adventure into a zen experience. Visitors can explore specialty tea, chocolate, and health care products, all aimed at enhancing overall well-being. Complementing this, a series of talks and panels by independent business owners and industry experts will explore the connections between coffee and wellness, providing valuable insights and inspiration. 

A panel of one man and four women focused on Midlands coffee culture.
Attendees will have the opportunity to hear panel discussions from industry pros.

Sustainability and Community Initiatives

The Birmingham Coffee Festival is not just about celebrating great coffee; it’s also committed to promoting sustainability and supporting the community. This year, the festival will be entirely free of paper cups, encouraging visitors to bring their own reusable cups. Water stations will be set up around the venue to facilitate easy rinsing and refilling, ensuring a seamless and eco-friendly coffee-tasting experience.

In addition to its environmental efforts, the festival is proud to partner with local organizations Farmers’ Voice Radio and ecobirmingham. Six percent of all ticket sales will be evenly donated to these community partners, providing direct support to their important missions. Festival-goers will have the opportunity to meet with representatives from both organizations, learning firsthand about the impactful work they are doing to promote sustainability and community well-being.

Festival-goers trying coffees,  drinking from reusable cups.
The Birmingham Coffee Festival is eliminating paper cups and encouraging visitors to bring their own reusable cups.

“We’re thrilled to bring Birmingham Coffee Festival back for another year of coffee-fueled fun, promising an even bigger and better celebration of specialty-coffee culture,“ says Hannah of Cup North. “This year, we’re not only introducing more top-notch offerings and exciting activities, but also continuing our mission to make the festival eco-friendly for all. We can’t wait to welcome everyone to immerse themselves in the vibrant Birmingham specialty-coffee scene and enjoy a weekend filled with coffee, community, and connection.“

Tickets for the Birmingham Coffee Festival are now available for purchase online. For more information about the festival, visit the official website.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Vasileia Fanarioti (she/her) is a senior online correspondent for Barista Magazine and a freelance copywriter and editor with a primary focus on the coffee niche. She has also been a volunteer copywriter for the I’M NOT A BARISTA NPO, providing content to help educate people about baristas and their work.

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