Brewing Up a Storm at Glasgow Coffee Festival: The World's Smallest Coffee Shop™

Brewing Up a Storm at Glasgow Coffee Festival: The World's Smallest Coffee Shop™

Picture this: the aroma of freshly roasted coffee beans wafting through the air, the lively chatter of coffee enthusiasts, and the clinking of KeepCups throughout the room. Welcome to the Glasgow Coffee Festival, the annual extravaganza that brings together the Scottish coffee community in all its caffeinated glory. This year, Cairngorm Coffee had the pleasure of setting up a stall that was far from ordinary. We transformed it into 'The World's Smallest Coffee Shop,' offering a unique experience to visitors. Let's take a sip and dive into the highlights of our unforgettable weekend at the festival.

The Perfect Blend of Fun and Coffee Education

Unlike your typical stall, we at Cairngorm Coffee believe in pushing boundaries and keeping things fresh. So, we thought, why not create an intimate coffee haven within our booth? And that's how 'The World's Smallest Coffee Shop' came to life (along with Robi visiting a 1 person nightclub at a festival many moons ago). Visitors were greeted with a warm welcome and presented with a choice between two enticing experiences: 'Mellow' or 'Funky.' It was like choosing your favourite vinyl record for a listening session, but instead, it was all about the coffee and surprising your taste buds (oh, and immersive sounds + tunes matching your desired vibe)!

The 'Mellow' Experience

For those seeking a tranquil coffee journey, the 'Mellow' experience was a dream come true. Stepping into our cozy nook, customers were transported to a world of relaxation and coffee appreciation. As they settled in, one of our expert team members would brew a perfectly balanced cup of our Washed Kenyan coffee, MUTHEWATI. But this wasn't just any ordinary coffee; it was a labor of love, crafted with meticulous attention to detail. As the aroma filled the air, visitors could sit back (well, at least one could, the rest did have to stand - it's small remember), sip, and indulge in the rich, velvety flavours while our barista shared fascinating insights about the beans and the brewing process.

The 'Funky' Experience

For the more adventurous souls seeking a bit of caffeine-infused excitement, the 'Funky' experience had them covered. With a touch of playfulness, we presented an unconventional twist on coffee. As customers entered 'The World's Smallest Coffee Shop,' they knew they were in for a wild ride. Our talented baristas showcased their creative flair by crafting a brew out of our new 'Wonder Series' Giesha coffee, LA COLMENA (available for a limited time) that would make any coffee purist raise an eyebrow. The 'Funky' experience brought out the experimental side of coffee lovers, tantalising their taste buds and igniting their sense of adventure.

Hannah's Thoughts:

This was your first Glasgow Coffee Festival, how did you find it?

Better than I could've expected! The Scottish coffee community is truly incredible, I feel really lucky to be apart of it. Being in a room with that many people that share a passion for this industry is so special. It was such an energising and motivating environment, I felt very proud to be working in coffee and was excited to go and roast on Monday.

You were also the first barista to duck under the table and assume position on the Saturday, what were your expectations VS how those 3 hours ended up actually going?

It was really fun and went so quickly! I was a bit apprehensive about how people would react, but as soon as the stall came together, it went so smoothly and people seemed really interested and luckily wanted to wait to try our coffee. I had no idea what the crowd was like whilst inside, so it was nice to get out and see people and try some other great coffee!

Do you think that offering more intimate experiences like this at events are a good idea going forward?

When I was talking to people inside the "smallest coffee shop", a lot of folks couldn't remember which coffees they had already tried as everyone is offering something incredible, but hopefully people walked away remembering that experience with Cairngorm.

As it was a more curated and intimate experience, we also had the time to properly highlight each coffee. It was a shame not everyone was able to come in, due to the line and wait, but I think it's fun to offer some variety and do something a bit different! I'd love to do something like this again, and make it even better for next time.

Your favourite stall (apart from Cairngorm of course)?

We love Dear Green over here, and their Natural Ice process Colombia sourced from Cofinet was a banger. I also really loved the Letty Bermudez by Manhattan Coffee Roasters served by Space/Kafei Studio. Truly one of my favourite espressos to date.

Anna's Thoughts:

This was your first Glasgow Coffee Festival, how did you find it?

It was a super fun and inspiring event! It was great to meet many like minded people and share our love for all things Coffee!

You had to handle all the incoming customers, how did you find people reacted once you explained what was actually going to happen behind those walls?

Do you think that offering more intimate experiences like this at events are a good idea going forward?

100%, you’ve got to stand out at events like these! And really show what your core values are as a company, which for us is obviously great tasting coffee but also we want everyone to have a positive experience + vibe with us!

Your favourite stall (apart from Cairngorm of course)?

Ohhh probably Nowita ice cream! The coffee + caramel ice cream was delish!!

Kate's Thoughts:

This was your 4th Glasgow Coffee Festival, how did you find it compared to previous itterations?

GCF gets bigger and better every year, but this year felt like a massive collective hug from the whole Scottish coffee community.

Was it a nice change of pace to take up the barista position in a small room compared to the usual daily grind of keeping the entirety of the huge and vast roastery together?

Truth be told, there’s a reason I’m hiding away in the roastery every day — I prefer to keep things running smoothly in production, but everyone was so lovely when visiting our wee brew bar that I didn’t mind repeating myself for 3 hours and feeling like I’d spent a week underground in darkness…!

Do you think that offering more intimate experiences like this at events are a good idea going forward?

Festivals can often feel like everyone’s in a rush to get a coffee in your hand and move on to the next person (similar to your local spot during the morning rush), so it’s definitely a unique opportunity to explore the coffees in depth and feel like you’ve got the undivided attention of your barista.

Your favourite stall (apart from Cairngorm of course)?

My favourite stall had to be Nowita Ice Cream. I crashed hard at 4pm on both days (let’s not talk about Sunday’s hangover), and my saving grace was a scoop of heaven from Nowita. Dear Green are always an absolute treat at GCF (and all other times), but they certainly knocked it out the park this year.

Robi's Thoughts:

You're a regular at these events and Glasgow in particular, did you find this year any different to previously event wise?

I couldn’t tell you what has changed from previous years, but it feels like it continues to feel more friendly every year I attend. I’ve been numerous times over the past 10 years, formatively as a buyer looking to purchase equipment and coffee for our cafe, and in recent years with stands where the welcome has been so fantastic.

You always exited your 'shifts' with a smile despite the general stuffiness and stress of working something like this - was it just that fun?

I think it was only when you left the space that you remembered how funny the whole concept we created was. There was definitely a comical aspect to the emergence of the stand, which felt more like a bunker, as if you were some kind of curious mole poking his head up for air.

On a serious note, the stand felt so, so positive. The anticipation that having the queue outside built meant the guests were highly engaged, and isolating them from the chaos allowed for really in depth and fascinating conversation about their relationship with coffee.

Do you think that offering more intimate experiences like this at events are a good idea going forward?

I absolutely think they are. Encouraging customers to be highly focussed on what we’re doing and saying, without the external distractions of the show which can be a sensory overload, seemed to us really productive. Naturally, we are in full sales mode when we are representing our business on a stand at a show, but I think that engaging people as best you can leads to more memorable experiences that last well beyond the time they leave the event. I would anticipate that next year other coffee businesses might rethink how to use the space.

Your favourite stall (apart from Cairngorm of course)?

I really enjoyed the Nowita Ice Cream stand to offer a bit of respite from over-caffeination. In a coffee sense, Dear Green were serving some high grade batch brew which was only about three metres from me all weekend, and we were in great company on both sides with Good Coffee Cartel featuring superstar brewer, Frankie, to our left, and our pals at Us V Them to our right.

A Buzzworthy Reception

From the moment the festival kicked off, our booth had a constant energy (and an ever growing queue). The enthusiasm and interest surrounding 'The World's Smallest Coffee Shop' was overwhelming. Visitors eagerly lined up, eager to experience something truly unique and engage with our passionate team. The booth quickly became a hub of activity, merch sales, brimming with laughter, conversation, and, of course, the irresistible aroma of freshly brewed coffee.

"Our transformation of a simple stall into 'The World's Smallest Coffee Shop' created a buzz that was hard to ignore."

Participating again in the Glasgow Coffee Festival was an absolute delight for Cairngorm Coffee. Our transformation of a simple stall into 'The World's Smallest Coffee Shop' might've started out as a joke but by the end, definitely drew the attention we could've hoped for and more!

Through the 'Mellow' and 'Funky' experiences, we were able to engage with coffee lovers on a whole new level, introducing them to exceptional brews while imparting knowledge and sparking their curiosity all in an intimate space. The festival provided the perfect platform for suppliers, roasters, cafes, and coffee enthusiasts to come together and celebrate their shared passion. We're already looking forward to next year's event, where we hope to once again surprise and delight visitors with our inventive approach to coffee.

Until then, let's keep the coffee flowing and the conversations brewing, see you all soon xox

1 comment



This was so much fun! Thanks for bringing a great concept to the festival!

Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.