November 23rd saw our annual Winter Carnival take place at the Union Roastery. Home to the Union Barista Championship, we eagerly await the Winter Carnival each year and 2017 proved to be more popular than ever. We welcomed over 150 people to our roastery to compete in the UBC, show off their skills at the Oatly Latte Art Throwdown, hear about our latest producer visit and how not to start a business and of course to enjoy good coffee, good company and good beer!

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Hello I have recently returned from competing in the World Coffee In Good Spirits Championship in Shanghai where, for the first time, the organisers introduced a really exciting, interactive Spirit Bar round.

This new concept works like a mystery ingredient challenge – the barista can brew coffee using any filter brewing method that they like, but they have to brew on stage. They are given 5 minutes to brew up and make their two cocktails. Easy enough?

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April 21st sees the third edition of the Scottish Aeropress Championships taking place – for the first time – in Edinburgh, at Summerhall.

The competition will take the format of 36 competitors, each brewing the same coffee in no more than ten minutes, using the Aerobie Aeropress. The winning cup will be chosen on its ability to make the judges “want to finish the whole cup”. This is a slightly more light-hearted competition and is often beer-fuelled and fun (I participated last year after a few pints and about 30 minutes of practice. Needless to say – I didn’t proceed to the later stages). The winner of each national championship goes on to represent their country at the World Aeropress Championship which coincides with the World Barista and World Brewers Cup Championships. This year the world final will be held in Dublin but the finals have been held in Rimini, Seattle, Melbourne, Portland and other far-flung venues – so it’s a nice trip for the winner!

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year! It certainly is for me as I have just been crowned Champion of the SCAE UK Coffee in Good Spirits 2016. I also enjoy the festive period because I am encouraged by friends and family to drin…sample lots of booze. All in a professional capacity, of course. Which gets me out of washing dishes or carving turkeys. And who wouldn’t enjoy creating something delicious that also happens to contain alcohol?

So, my friends, I’m sharing with you my three favourite coffee cocktail recipes for the festive season. I’ve ordered these from easiest to make to hardest. The first two are pretty simple and at this time of the year you should pretty much have all you need in the cupboard to make them. The third is one of my signature cocktails from the CIGS Competition. It takes at least 24 hours to prepare, so be warned. But it does make for a great excuse to avoid another round of charades. Best of luck and do share with me how you got on in the comments section.

All my recipes serve one. I’ll leave you to figure out why. Multiply all the measures by the number of people you want to serve.

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