We almost choked on our morning brew when we heard the news about our success in the 2013 guild of fine foods Great Taste awards, the world’s largest and most rigorous food and beverage awards scheme involving over 400 judges and thousands of hours of blind tasting.
Great Taste is simply about taste, not clever branding or smart packaging. Judges are presented with, for example, a piece of cheese, a pie or a little dish of chutney, with no wrappings, jars or marks – and they taste, confer and re-taste before making the decision on whether a product should be a 1-, 2- or 3-star winner or not. In total more than 12 judges will have tasted and commented on each product.
Nara and myself took over the business from Paul and Eloise in July last year (2012) and the standard they had set and the work they had put in was incredible. We knew we had a busy few months and a very steep learning curb ahead of us if we were going to maintain that kind of quality. We decided to enter the awards out of curiosity to see if we were heading in the right direction. We knew that we had made the best coffee we could and liked the idea of the awards being focused purely on taste and nothing but taste. We had the call notifying us of our success exactly a year from taking the keys to the roastery and as an anniversary gift it is a hard one to beat! After a year of fine tuning, meticulous attention to detail and experimentation it’s official…we continue to roast bloody good coffee.
Here is what the judges had to say:
Lusty Glaze. Great Taste Gold. 3 Stars.
“Great biscuit notes. Well-rounded with some spice. Good level of acidity and good length of flavour. A good light roast. Lots of levels. A high berry note. Milk brings out some chocolate notes – mocha and hazelnut. Table 2 – Agree with the above. Judges get grapefruit notes, a bright fruitiness, and like the acidity.”
Beast of Bodmin. Great Taste Gold. 2 Stars.
“There’s a lot going on in this espresso, which judges like. This is a really interesting blend and there’s a lovely oakiness and depth to the drink. The balance of sourness and acidity is very good. There’s a long finish to this coffee and judges found this very complex and multi layered. The beans have a good, even, light roast.”
Tubetime Espresso. Great Taste Gold. 2 Stars.
“Big backbone of dark chocolate, with a touch of salt and a savoury note. Big fruit nose but doesn’t come through on the palate. Chewy, this would make a great ristretto”
We believe in having a solid and consistent ‘base’ from which to work from for all of our espressos and we started to trade directly with Nara’s father’s farm in the Mogiana region of Brazil where we developed a single estate espresso blend alongside an expert team from Brazil. This is the Fazenda Alianca Espresso 13 and it is exclusive to ourselves in the UK. It is a very special coffee and we are extremely fortunate in being able to say that we know every part of the journey, from seed to cup. There are only two of us at Hands-on and one of us spent time growing up on the farm. You may also find some of these beans in Japan, but that’s it. This is the base for all three of our award winning espressos. It is a Yellow Catuai Varietal grown between 800-1200m and the new crop is every bit as good as last years and on its way now. We changed the composition of Lusty glaze last autumn and from the very first roast we knew we were on to something good. This then gave us the confidence to experiment with a whole host of different blends.
We only use the best 100% Arabica, speciality grade beans from Brazil, El Salvador, Sumatra, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Guatemala to complete our blends.
Lusty Glaze is available to buy online and at multiple outlets throughout Cornwall. Tubetime Espresso is available to buy at the Tubestation Cafe in Polzeath and The Beast of Bodmin in the Woods Cafe in Cardinham. Both the Beast of Bodmin and the Tubetime espressos will be available online very soon as well.