We were both excited and grateful to be chosen to participate as an experience judge for the first ever Extracted Development coffee competition, which launched this weekend at the Birmingham Coffee Festival. The brainchild of the talented Cup North team, this new competition focusses on real-life barista skills, how baristas and roasters can and should collaborate to best serve their customers as well as involving the audience in a meaningful way.
Eight roasters from around the country were paired with eight baristas, and were tasked with preparing a presentation for the three experience judges, Claire Wallace of Assembly Coffee, Dénes Bíró of Heylo Coffee and myself, as well as a fourth wildcard judge who was pulled from the audience on the day. Their movements and preparations were watched over by the careful eyes of the technical judge, Sapphire Chan of Ancoats Coffee. For a brief 18 minutes on stage each duo was asked to serve the four judges an espresso, a plant-based milk drink and a filter coffee, using coffee that had to be sourced for under £12 per kilo of green.
The main ways competitors were able to gain points on the scoresheet and climb the leadership ladder reflect the reality of serving customers in a café setting, through being personable and warm, giving good customer service and displaying knowledge of their product and accurately describing the taste experiences of their three rounds of drinks.
It was refreshing to meet such a positive bunch of people over the course of the day, and after each duo called time Dénes, Claire and I would pore over the scoresheets to ensure we were taking care to allocate points to the hardworking baristas and roasters, and confidently reflect their accuracy and attention to detail.
Together, we tasted coffees from Costa Rica, Peru, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Rwanda and Ethiopia, everything from traditionally washed through pulped naturals, semi-washed and honeys, into the experimental anoxic/anerobic processes and even a whisky barrel aged coffee. Varieties included Arara, Gesha, Sidra, Caturra, Bourbon, Pink Bourbon and countless others. The level of detail conveyed on how coffees were sourced, roasted and ultimately prepared was fascinating, and we were often left beaming at the passion and enthusiasm that we share as an industry for playing a small role in coffee’s complicated supply chain.
Event co-creator, Grace Talbot, and event MC Ricardo
Underpinning everything, from the organisers Grace Talbot and Hannah Davies through the competitors and our fellow judges was a very strong sense of inclusivity and community. Now we’re looking forward to doing it all again at the Manchester Coffee Festival later this year, which you’ll find us exhibiting at on November 18th an 19th.
Congratulations to the winning duo, Laura Metcalfe and Culainn Boland-Shanahan, and thanks for your routine with which was brimming with knowledge, passion and, of course, tasty drinks.
Eventual winners, Laura Metcalfe and Culainn Boland-Shanahan
We've always appreciated the cultural and historic link between coffee and cycling. From supporting grass roots events and working with local teams, through to the regulars that stop by our coffee bar each week, it's one of a number of reassuring constants that continually bears out in Workshop's story as we continue to evolve.
Building on that strong link, and to celebrate the beginning of the world's biggest bike race – The Tour de France – we've partnered up with creators of natural performance snacks and fuel, Veloforte, to offer 6 months of coffee and nutrition.
Together, we've created the perfect pre- and post-ride recovery bundle worth over £800. For a chance to win simply follow the steps below. Entries close at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday 09/07/23. The winner will be announced on Monday 10/07/23.
This competition is now closed.
Founded in 2011, Exploding Bakery have been championing brilliant baked goods for over a decade. Committed to excellent ingredients, working with like-minded partners and producers, and doing so fairly, their approach aligns closely with our own and so working together felt like an obvious decision.
As Co-founder Oli highlights, “the partnership has to be right. Exploding Bakery and Workshop care so much about quality, but also share a responsibility for caring for the planet. Partnerships like this are a great way to shout from the rooftops and be heard by a wider audience”.
Throughout June, you’ll find Workshop Coffee being served in their cafe in Exeter, and you can also add a coffee and cake bundle to your basket in their online shop. This brings together José & Negusse Filter Blend with one of their deli cakes, to be enjoyed together with friends or indulged in alone.
To celebrate, we’re offering three prize packages combining exceptional coffee and cake to create indulgent care packages delivered straight to your door.
To enter, simply follow the steps below.
This competition has now closed.
We’ve teamed up with our friends and partners at tokyobike and Kinto Japan to bring you the chance to win an incredibly covetable commuter package.
From an ongoing to supply of coffee, to everything you need to brew and transport it, the prize will also include your own two-wheeled transportation in the form of a brand new tokyobike.
The lucky winner will receive:
A 12-month Workshop Coffee subscription, straight through your letterbox each week
A place on one of our Home Brewing Masterclasses for you and a friend.
A tokyobike Classic Sport Limited Edition
A white 350ml Kinto Japan Travel Tumbler
A Kinto Japan 4-Cup Brewer Stand
With a combined value of over £1,500, entry is simple: just enter your details below between now and Sunday 8th September.
We wish you the best of luck.Win A Covetable Coffee Commuter Package