It was about this time last year that four of us here were getting excited; one of us was having a baby, and the other three were off to the MAD Food Symposium in Denmark. Fast forward twelve months and the excitement swells a-new; one of us baby-proofing their apartment against London’s most curious crawler, and the other three are packing their bags again.
This year, James, Richard and Sara (replacing Nico, who has moved on to pastures new) will be taking themselves and our coffee to Copenhagen, to represent Workshop Coffee Co. by serving around the 600 attendees of what is without doubt the greatest symposium, anywhere.
Last year’s event saw Dario Cecchini take to the stage, butchering a whole pig that hung from an overhead beam while AC/DC’s ‘Hells Bells’ resonated through the marquis. After passionately explaining the importance of a cultural and respectful approach to the meat we eat (all of it, not just the ‘nice’ bits) and the dying craft of the butcher Dario closed with a spine-chilling recital from Dante’s ‘Inferno', and accepted an uproarious, room-shaking applause.
This was only the opening act.
For this year’s event the curators of the coffee service, Tim Wendelboe and Jens Nørgaard, requested coffee sample submissions from across the world, in an effort to identify the very best coffees from the very best roasters that they could. Amongst a great many others, and some incredibly tough competition, we submitted two espresso and two filter coffees for judging in Oslo and waited for what is always very honest feedback.
A few weeks later I was in a dilapidated Land Cruiser, bouncing around on horrible dirt roads of the Kibuye region of Rwanda when the email came through to say that our coffees had scored very well in the blind tastings; well enough, in fact, to be offered one of just four Gold Sponsor positions at MAD 2014. To say I was pleased doesn't really get to the heart of the matter; for me, it's the kind of evaluation-by-one's-peers that is a real test of the efforts that we put in to our coffee, day in and day out. And I was elated by the result.
And so, as the end of August draws near, and my colleagues are busily and excitedly preparing for what will undoubtedly be one of the best weekends of their year, I’m busily measuring for and installing baby gates on the stairs at home, all the while incredibly proud of the people that I get to work alongside.
We usually put a good deal of the attention onto the producers, the exporters and the importers we work with, who all handle our coffee from tree to port, but this time I'm more specifically interested in throwing the praise behind the roasters, the cuppers, the packers and the baristas we have on our team, who have all focused their attention on the best coffee possible, and are being recognised and rewarded for that care.
They deserve it.
We’ll be serving Githiga AA, Kenya and Finca Tamana Espresso, Colombia at the MAD Food Symposium in Copenhagen, Denmark August 24th and 25th, alongside fellow Gold Sponsors Tim Wendelboe, Drop Coffee Roasters and Koppi, and Silver Sponsors Mecca, Phil & Sebastian, Square Mile Coffee, The Coffee Collective, 5 Elephants and Da Matteo.