What an amazing couple of weeks here and Hessian HQ! Firstly a nomination into the Hertfordshire Life Food and Drink Awards for Best Local Supplier and then we were a finalist!  To top it off, our coffee was recognised and awarded a Great Taste Award with the National Guild of Fine Foods.

We must be doing something right!  Initially we were nominated by one of our wonderful customers for the supplier award.  This came as a great surprise as we are just a couple of families running a business doing what we love to do.

Coffee Award – How it all started!

The process began with the nomination. Because of this, it then encouraged other Hessian customers to complete a form to also vote. So it allowed customers to give comments and give evidence on everything.  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. Paragraphs needed to be written under the various categories so the judges knew why it was being nominated. We are not sure who out of our amazing customers completed the paperwork but the mystery is appreciated.

Following assessment on the nominations we were visited and interviewed by one of the Hertfordshire food and Life team.  This section was 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, along with what growth plans and aspirations we have as a business. Being reflective on the business during this interview highlighted to me that we do a pretty good job and should be proud of our achievements to date. I have to say it also bought home the need to pause and take stock from time to time.  Take time to assess oursevles, ask questions, re-focus and re-energise. I plan to build this into the working week instead of running around constantly.

The next stage in the process

The next stage saw us being invited to the stunning Hatfield House in Hertfordshire for a drinks reception. Next was a 3 course sit down meal and the awards ceremony for finalist. Here we enjoyed stunning food and surroundings awaiting nervously when our category was called.

The Food and Drink 2017 awards are broken down to 12 categories.  These 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 winning many accolades. The lunch flowed into the afternoon with coffee and wine.  A great time was had with us getting the chance to meet likeminded people all striving to be the best at what they do. We returned home with goodie bags from the sponsors and a framed certificate which is proudly sitting on my desk as we speak.  Not a category winner but proud and honoured to be thought about in such high regards.

The award continues

Hessians recognition continued into the start of August.  We had news of a win in the Great Taste award for one of our freshly roasted espresso beans.

Our Bourbon Select was submitted a couple of month ago. We pretty much had forgotten we had done so. At Hessian we know 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, its also 100% Arabica. The beans being farmed from a single growing area in El Salvador and is certified Rainforest Alliance.

Judged by over 500 of the most demanding palates.  Now that is impressive already don’t you think! The palates belonging to food critics, chefs, cooks, restaurateurs and producers.  Let not forget also that food writers and journalists are also part of the panel.  The comments received included “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 the result of the acidity and the long finish was enjoyed by the team”

Great Taste Award

Out of over 12,300 products judged we were awarded a 1-star Great Taste award which means judges dubbed it simply delicious. Only 20% of those entered gained an award, so we are blown away again with our recognition.  Great Taste is widely acknowledged as the most respected food accreditation scheme for 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.  Products that have been discovered through hours and hours of blind-tasting by hundreds of judges.

Not bad for a Bishops Stortford, local, family ran company in its seconds year trading!