This month sees a national celebration of coffee take place across the UK with the purpose of bringing together coffee lovers.
Running from April 7th to 13th, UK Coffee Week 2014 is aiming to raise £100,000 to complete Project Waterfall, which is bringing clean, safe water to a remote community in a coffee-growing region of Africa.
London Coffee Festival launches UK Coffee Week 2014
Kicking off the celebrations was the London Coffee Festival 2014, which was held at the Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane in the heart of the capital between April 3rd and 6th.
More than 20,000 visitors were anticipated to flock to the event, which celebrated the busy London coffee scene and attracted hoards of coffee fans and industry professionals from around the world.
With expert baristas, live music, DJs, bespoke coffees, cocktails, tastings, art exhibitions, interactive workshops, demonstrations, artisan food, one of the key focuses of the show was on quality and the importance of direct trade.
UK Coffee Week funds Project Waterfall
A core aim of UK Coffee Week 2014 is to raise funds for Project Waterfall, which improves access to clean drinking water and provides better sanitation for people in Tanzania's remote Mbulu district.
The scheme is run by the Allegra Foundation in partnership with WaterAid, focusing on the poorest communities in the coffee growing regions of Africa.
With unsafe water and poor sanitation responsible for nearly 21,000 deaths of children under five each year in Tanzania and 46 per cent of the population living without access to a clean source of H2O, Project Waterfall has been installing water systems and laying pipeline in order to improve the lives of communities in Mbulu.
More than £180,000 has been raised to date and thousands of people are benefiting from the work it has funded, including a local school in Mongo wa mono village.
Highlights of the week
Following on from the London Coffee Festival, just some of the exciting events being held this year as part of UK Coffee Week include the 5 Bean Challenge.
Those taking part can win one of a range of top prizes, including free coffee and a Verismo coffee machine.
By making a donation to Project Waterfall in a variety of ways, people can collect beans and once they reach a total of five, they are entered into the prize draw.
This year's UK Coffee Week also has an official charity song called Hot Coffee (available to download), participating outlets are selling products like cakes and biscuits to support Project Waterfall, and there is a limited edition London Coffee Guide on sale.
Independent shops and coffee chains around the country are participating, alongside roasters, suppliers and traders, with coffee tastings, promotional food and drink, charitable donations, posters, coffee artwork, fundraising events and specialty blends all marking the occasion.
Britain's coffee culture is thriving
UK Coffee Week celebrates coffee shops of all sizes and kinds, as the nation falls more in love with the drink, with independent traders promoting their brews alongside international chains, using artisan roasts and fresh beans to provide quality products to their clientele.
To mark the occasion, the North Wales Daily Post has highlighted the many ways in which small operations are attracting customers, including book clubs, jazz nights, community projects and specialty blends.
According to the publication, coffee culture is growing in the region and a cafe in Llandudno has adopted a range of techniques to enhance its offering, including selling freshly ground coffee from local artisan roasters who ensure their beans are ethically sourced – something that is extremely important to us at DR Wakefield.
The UK's thriving coffee scene is expected to grow further, with a recent report by Allegra Strategies predicting a rapid rate of expansion in the coffee shop market to more than 20,500 outlets by 2018.
According to Project Cafe 13 UK, the current market comprises around 16,500 outlets and is worth £6.2 billion a year. This figure is expected to rise to £8.7 billion over the five years to 2018 and the number of outlets anticipated to increase at 4.5 per cent per annum.
If the statistics are anything to go by, it would appear the UK is as in love with coffee as we are.