What an amazing couple of weeks here and Hessian HQ! Firstly we received a nomination into an award. Then we became a finalist in the Hertfordshire Life Food and Drink Awards for Best Local Supplier. Then to top it off, one of our coffees was recognised and awarded a Great Taste Award, with the National Guild of Fine Foods!
We must be doing something right! Initially prompted by one of our wonderful customers for the supplier award which was a surprise as we are just a couple of families doing what we do. The process began with the nomination, which then encouraged other customers to complete a form allowing comments and evidence on everything from products, service, attitude, ethics, standards, consistency and quality. I saw the form and it was by no means a 30 second tick box exercise. The nomination required each person to write paragraphs under the various categories. Even though we are not sure whom of our amazing customers completed the paperwork. We are extremely appreciative to those of you who took the time to complete the form.
Following assessment on the nominations we were visited and interviewed by one of the Hertfordshire food and Life team based on the comments completed on the earlier forms. It was nice to have a few moments sitting and talking about what it is we do. What drives us and what growth plans and aspirations we have as a business. Reflecting on the business during this interview highlighted that we do a pretty good job. We should be proud of our achievements to date. It also bought home the need to pause and take stock from time to time. Assess, ask questions, change direction, re-focus and re-energise. Something I’m going to build into the working week instead of running around constantly.
Invited to the stunning Hatfield House in Hertfordshire. It began as a drinks reception, then a 3 course sit down meal and the awards ceremony for finalist. We sat and enjoyed stunning food and surroundings awaiting nervously.
Coffee Awards and more
The Food and Drink 2017 awards get broken down into 12 smaller categories. They range from best pub, café, restaurant, chef, suppler, newcomer, customer service etc, with nominations in each area. An added surprise was that 2 of our customers were up for 4 awards also, one of which winning many accolades. The lunch flowed into the afternoon with coffee and wine the chance to meet with likeminded people all striving to be the best at what they do. We returned home with goodies bags from the sponsors and a framed certificate which is proudly sitting on my desk as we speak. We may not be a category winner this year, however we are proud and honoured that we are thought about in such high regards.
The recognition continued into the start of August with news of a Great Taste award for one of our freshly roasted espresso beans.
We had submitted our Bourbon Select a couple of month ago and pretty much forgotten we had done so. Knowing this coffee is simply fantastic and consistent in every roast and something which we are incredibly proud of. It doesn’t just taste great as an espresso or a latte it is also 100% Arabica. With the beans farmed from a single growing area in El Salvador and is certified Rainforest Alliance.
Judged by over 500 of the most demanding palates, belonging to food critics, chefs, cooks. Along with restaurateurs and producers, food writers and journalists. The panel commented “Muted on the nose, a lovely creamy, coffee coloured crema. This has a big, initial mouth hit, with good top notes. The level of acidity is pleasing. The sweetness is a result of the acidity, with the long finish enjoyed by the team”
Out of over 12,300 products judged, we received a 1-star Great Taste award. This means judges dubbed it simply delicious. With only 20% entered gaining an award, we were blown away to receive this recognition. Great taste is a well known and respected food accreditation scheme for both artisan and speciality food producers. As well as a badge of honour, the unmistakeable black and gold Great Taste label is a signpost to a wonderful tasting product. This is discovered through hours and hours of blind-tasting by hundreds of judges.
Not bad for a local, family ran company in its seconds year trading!