Coffee With Hannah Davies

WRITTEN BY Caoimhe Mahon

April 8, 2024

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Coffee With Hannah Davies

by | Apr 8, 2024 | Sustainability

Caoimhe Mahon

8 Apr, 2024

Last month UTOPIA The Edit was invited to attend the Dublin Coffee Festival held in The Complex and hosted by Cup North. The three day event marked the expansion of Cup North from the UK and into Ireland. The event attracted coffee lovers from all over the country and brought together experts from within the vibrant coffee culture scene from both Ireland and the UK.

Following the event I sat down with Hannah Davies, operations manager at Cup North, to talk about all things coffee, a common love of ours. 

One thing that was evident throughout the festival was the vibrancy of the coffee community whose dedication to the craft reflects a deep appreciation for ‘good’ coffee. In fact, when I asked Hannah where the idea for Cup North came from, she had this to say: 

The coffee community has always been at the forefront of our plans for Cup North. We started out with the goal of educating coffee consumers on the value of speciality coffee in the North of England and it’s grown from there!”  

And it certainly has grown! Hannah used to work in Dublin so she was familiar with the great coffee scene the city currently has to offer and so bringing Cup North’s Coffee Festival to Ireland was a no-brainer. 

Dublin has firmly been put on the map as a city who knows its coffee with an active and energetic coffee culture live and well. We all have our favourite coffee spots, which are more than just a spot to get our daily dose of caffeine. 

Rather coffee culture has become a personal art form to us all. As well as achieving the perfect blend we love a good aesthetic, vibe and even coffee shop playlist, because going for a coffee has truly become a social event, an experience if you will. 

Hannah paints an idea of her ideal coffee experience:

“My perfect coffee experience usually involves a good friend and the opportunity to sample a range of coffees side-by-side. I love to go to a cafe where they serve the same coffee as a filter and espresso – coffee tasting should be fun!” 

When the team at UTOPIA The Edit attended the Dublin Coffee festival, fun was certainly at the forefront of the event. Walking around all the stalls we got to sample lots of delicious coffee and whilst slightly buzzed from all the caffeine we learnt lots about the world of coffee too.

One term that kept popping up when speaking to the coffee experts was ‘speciality coffee.’ It is a term we see and hear all the time but what does it actually mean? 

Hannah explains:

“That’s a big question! And one that there isn’t a formal definition of but most people accept that a speciality coffee is one that is scored higher than 80 points using an official cupping protocol. Of course, the roaster and barista can also have a huge impact on how the coffee tastes so it’s important that every member of the supply chain values the coffee and retains the speciality element.” 

Alongside the delicious and luxurious coffee on offer at the event another enticing feature of the festival was the sustainability aspect of it all. In fact, prioritising the environment is one of Cup North’s core values. 

For us at UTOPIA The Edit getting to enjoy great coffee knowing that we are protecting the environment at the same time is not only a win win but a necessity particularly when Hannah explains: 

“The coffee industry is hugely impacted by climate change – by 2050, if climate change continues on the same trajectory, then there will be 50% less available land for growing coffee in the world. So we see it as our responsibility to make environmental sustainability a core value and do what we can to educate our audience on the impact that we’re making.”

So, just what measures were taken to make the Dublin Coffee Festival sustainable?

  1. Dublin Coffee Festival was a paper cup free event – so all coffee was served in reusable cups. 
  2. Other packaging (for food etc) had to be compostable. 
  3. Biodiesel was used in the event generators and all of stakeholders were asked to sign an environmental code of conduct to encourage best practices when exhibiting at our events.

I think the approach of Dublin Coffee Festival certainly provides food for thought. If an event on this scale can do coffee in a sustainable way then surely we can try to make our daily coffee run more sustainable. 

Hannah is here to help with her top tips for you.

  1. Bring a reusable cup for takeaway coffee so you’re not wasting cups and plastic lids.
  2. Buy speciality roasted coffee from your local coffee roaster – this reduces air miles and lots of speciality roasters will also have their own environmental initiatives. If they don’t – ask why! Walk to the roastery to pick up the coffee for extra points! 
  3. If you’re making coffee at home, think about how much water you need to heat up and don’t heat more than you need for that cup. 

Trying our best to make small changes can truly go a long way. 

With all this in mind I asked “what is next for Cup North?”

To which Hannah had this to say,

“We have Birmingham Coffee Festival coming up in July where we’ll see the return of our competition Extracted Development. We also have some smaller regional events planned this year with a queer coffee brunch in Margate and a London edition of Extracted Development. Watch this space for news of our return to Ireland!” 

You heard it here first, watch this space Irish coffee lovers!

1 Comment

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