An Evening With Winchester Coffee School
‘I don’’t rise and shine, I caffeinate and hope’
Oh coffee, that sweet sweet nectar that never lets me down. Whether its early morning roadworks, my neighbour’s kids screaming the place down or a late night binging Netflix, I can always rely on a good cup of coffee to not only kickstart my morning, but more often than not, get me through the day. And its not just how coffee makes me feel that I love, but the whole culture of it. The rich smell of the beans coupled with velvety smooth milk topped off with some latte art is just the start for me; so when The Winchester School of Coffee got in touch to invite me over for a VIP barista class ahead of The Winchester Coffee Festival, I couldn’t quite believe my luck.
Don’t get me wrong, I had some serious imposter syndrome from the get go but it was a really great evening. Apart from it being three great hours of learning all about the perfect cuppa, I was able to network with an intimate group of incredible women (and two men), all of whom are fellow creators and (mostly) lovers of the humble cup of jo.
We were treated to glasses of prosecco upon arrival, shortly followed by gorgeous canepes from The Little Kitchen Company whilst we listened to the very knowledgable and very lovely, Antonia Goodward, teaching us all about the humble bean.
We learnt about the differences between coffee arabica and coffee canephora-robusta, the picking process and grading system relating to the different qualities of coffee - put it this way, it’s certainly put me off of highstreet giants such as Starbucks and Costa!
Then we were put to the test, making our very own espresso. I was in a group with the lovely Georgia and Caz who had me howling with laughter every step of the way; two very funny and very uncensored ex-bbc presenters who have turned their hand at vlogging. After we had (kind of) gotten our heads around the coffee machines, we were taught all about the milk steaming process. Steamed milk is the end result of milk being exposed to high pressured steam from an espresso machine. It is made by introducing steam gradually into milk until the natural fats within it expand to create ‘micro-foam’; a layer of very small milk bubbles. What you are left with is a smooth, silky beverage perfect for espresso based drinks. After another demonstration from Antonia, we all had a go at making our own cup, decked out with latte art and I came away with a cappuccino topped with a heart (that defintely looked more like a peach!).
This is the first time that Winchester has hosted a coffee festival and it is set to be a celebration of the region’s fasted growing independent cafe scene. There are two sessions, the day time one kicks off at 11am and the evening one at 7pm. The festival will give visitors the chance to learn all about what it takes to make the perfect cup of coffee courtesy of Winchester Coffee School and Mozzo Coffee.
There are plenty of barista masterclasses and workshops taking place across the festival to really sink your teeth into, the perfect opportunity to discover all things coffee. Even if you are a tea drinker, Birchall Tea will be ready and waiting to quench your thirst and there will be plenty of food to indulge in too. Local coffee roasters will be on hand to chat through the process and you can even have a go at roasting coffee and dabble in latte art!
The evening session is what I am personally looking forward to the most, where the festival’s signature coffee cocktails created by local cocktail experts and festival organisers will be available to try.The Cabinet Rooms.
The Winchester Coffee Festival kicks off on the 29th of September and is a collaboration between Guildhall Winchester, The Cabinet Rooms and Flat Whites; it’s the perfect opportunity to meet those involved in the city’s fastest growing independent cafe scene. So, what are you waiting for? You can buy your tickets here.