Travelling across to Europe with the family, London would be our last stop. I was returning to my place of birth and one of the largest, most revered cities in the world. It would be a chance to catch up with friends and family and the first time my kids would get a chance to explore their heritage. It would also be a great chance for me to explore London’s growing coffee culture and I knew just where to start.

I arrived at Mercanta’s Head Office on London Road, Kingston upon Thames and was happy to see a familiar face in Katherine Calder, whom I had met earlier in the year during a coffee appreciation tour to Sumatra. Katherine joined Mercanta in 2010 to oversee their marketing and communications activities and has since completed London School of Coffees Advanced Cupping Course. We started the day cupping the 26 coffees from the winning farms of the Rwandan Cup of Excellence. This would be Katherine’s domain as she had previously served on the Rwandan Cup of Excellence international jury in 2011. The coffees were obviously of a high quality and it was a great introduction to how Mercanta operate.

After the cupping session we headed downstairs to Mercanta’s sister company, London School of Coffee where they offer a range of Barista courses including a recognised City and Guilds qualification, roasting courses, cupping courses and a two day course in how to start your own coffee shop. A must visit in London for any coffee enthusiast or beginner.

Big thanks to all of the staff at both Mercanta and the London School of Coffee, whom were all extremely welcoming. Special mention to Katherine as well as Jose Aguilar (Director) and Will Cordy (Sales and Client Support) for taking the time out of their busy work schedules.

Hopefully we can get an opportunity to reciprocate in the near future if any of the team decides to pay a visit to Australia!

Steve Grant

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