Inside Cup North coffee festival in Manchester 2014

Cup North

The Canton team had a fantastic time on our expedition up north for Cup North, Manchester’s first coffee festival. We chatted with old friends, made new ones, and drank an assortment of rather excellent coffee until we were shaking with a mixture of joy and caffeine.

Cup North was held in the trendy community artist studio centre, ArtWork Greengate. We had a hard task ahead of us: among exhibiting coffee roasters, sourcers, baristas and enthusiasts, we were the sole ambassadors for tea. We stacked our brick-walled stand to the brim with tea and teaware, creating a tea oasis amongst the plethora of coffee, and prepared to convert some coffee fans.

It was great spending time with our inspiring trade partners Extract Coffee Roasters, Origin Coffee Roasters, and Clifton Coffee Roasters, who were all there fighting the good fight, especially as they kept the Canton team supplied with delicious coffees over the weekend! We even managed to swap some loose leaf for some toasty beans, so we’ve come home with some exciting coffee swag for the office.

We received visits from Steve and Tracey of Spring Espresso, Sam from Upshot Espresso, and Richard and Hugo from Nude Espresso, who all already serve Canton tea in their cafés. Always so lovely to catch up with people who already love our tea, as well as introducing people to it.

On Sunday, a day of inclement weather, the lovely guys from Mission Coffee Works pulled me over to point out a glorious rainbow through the windows of ArtWork, reflected in the shiny coffee machines opposite.

Our Cup North neighbours across the hall, Union Coffee Roasters, handed me a mysterious paper cup containing something creamy called a ‘Black Forest Coffee’. It was utterly delicious, but only after demolishing it did I realise it contained a measure of Amaretto and Chambord! No wonder it was so good.

I had to drive the van back from Manchester to Bristol that night so hot-tailed it to the food marquee to soak up some of that coffee cocktail. Manchester street food organisers GRUB had brought together some really special food vendors. It was a tough choice with so much good food to be had, but I settled on a ginger beer pulled pork soft taco with pineapple chilli salsa, Mexican slaw and hot sauce from Yakumama. It really was one of the best things I’ve ever eaten in my life and fuelled me for the drive home. A fitting conclusion to a wonderful weekend.

Many thanks to the Cup North team, Hannah, Ricardo and the lovely volunteers.

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