The London coffee scene has been hotting up over the past few years, with visitors to the capital unable to move for independent cafes, larger chains and small roasters setting up shop in many empty units, much to the delight of caffeine lovers. But what about coffee fans up north – are they missing out on all the excitement? Not at all – especially in Manchester. The city is set to play host to its own coffee festival to mirror the annual London-based event – Cup North will provide northern roasters with the chance to cup new brews, source new beans and ensure they are well placed to compete with the rest of the UK. In fact, Cup North has been dubbed a "two-day northern coffee party" by its organisers. We at DRWakefield will be exhibiting there – here's what attendees can expect from the first ever Cup North festival. Cup North Cup North aims to recreate the successful, highly-enjoyable experience of the London Coffee Festival and is being organised by Manchester's growing coffee community. Taking place over the weekend of Saturday November 1st and Sunday November 2nd at ArtWork in the Greengate area of the city, where it meets neighbouring Salford. The venue can be reached easily by public transport and is no more than a ten to 25-minute walk from each of Manchester's train stations. A range of traders and roasters from across the country will be in attendance, which the organisers say "will give visitors the chance to learn, sample and buy some of the outstanding coffee roasted in the UK". Cup North will involve cupping sessions, talks, demonstrations and tastings, and it will not just be coffee on offer, but also tea and chocolate. The northern coffee scene So how big is Manchester's coffee scene? Local publication Manchester Confidential recently published a report entitled 'MCR's indie coffee culture rising', demonstrating the popularity of independent coffee shops, particularly in the Northern Quarter area of the city, but also in nearby up-and-coming areas Didsbury and Chorlton. Founder of Cup North Hannah Davies commented: "There's a vibrant coffee culture up here. London's coffee scene is very influenced by Australians and Kiwis, so they're all similar. The nice thing about northern shops is they're all individual – I wanted to celebrate that." She explained that four local roasters – Coffee Circle, Ancoats, ManCoCo and Passion Fruit – are in fact working on a special blend to showcase at Cup North. Ms Davies added: "That's not been done anywhere else. It demonstrates the close-knit community we've got here." This is not a new thing for Manchester though, as Ancoats, which neighbours the Northern Quarter, was dubbed Little Italy in Victorian times due to a large number of Italian migrants moving there and bringing with them elements of their culture – including coffee roasting. The local Methodist church ran a coffee tavern in the area in the late 1800s, alongside a women's night shelter and a men's workhouse, showing that coffee has been a popular presence in this part of Manchester for generations. DRWakefield's role in the event We at DRWakefield will be exhibiting at Cup North, travelling to Manchester to host cupping sessions and showcase some of our finest beans. Our coffee catalyst Henry Clifford explained: "New roasters are popping up in the north and we'd like to show our support for them by being there. It's also an opportunity for new roasters to meet us." Come and see us! If you want to come and see DRWakefield and the event's other exhibitors throughout the weekend, tickets for Cup North are available here, costing £10 for separate admission to the Saturday (11.00 to 20.00 BST) and Sunday (11.00 to 18.00) or £18 for those who wish to attend both days. £1 from every ticket sold will go to the Coffee Kids charity, while those attending on the Saturday will be treated to special talks and competitions during the afternoon. Food, music and beers will feature as the day turns into evening. All children aged 16 and under go free, as long as they are accompanied by an adult. We look forward to meeting you!
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