“We knew we had something special with this coffee”
An idea sparked on the other side of the world has become, in just three years, an artisan coffee-roasting business in rural Cheshire, producing top-quality beans that create joy in a cup. Lynda Searby went to meet the makers of an outstanding coffee blend
Lost Barn Coffee Roasters’ Bloomsbury Blend was a coffee that was always going to be a strong contender for the 2020 Great Taste Awards. The easydrinking espresso had been given two coveted stars the previous year, but the coffee has come of age in the 12 months that have elapsed since.
“We knew we had something special when we were awarded two stars, but at that point we were still a relatively young business. We had to build on that with more experience,” says Jo McKerchar, who founded the Cheshire micro-roastery with her husband Blair, a chef, and their business partner Martyn Moloney. This year, the company’s coffee has been awarded three stars and the Great Taste Golden Fork for the north of England.
Big win for micro-roastery, as top notch shot hits the spot
Great Taste, the world’s most trusted food and drink awards, has reached its grand finale for 2020, with the Great Taste Golden Fork from the North of England presented to The Lost Barn Coffee Roasters from Tilston, Cheshire for its Bloomsbury Blend. Built on the site of a lost barn that was blown away during the catastrophic storm of January 1839, the micro-roastery produces small batch speciality coffee, tucked away in the grounds of a historic Cheshire estate. Blending naturally processed Mundo Novo beans from Brazil with washed Typica beans from Mexico, the winning espresso was described as “rich and well-rounded” by the Great Taste judges, who enjoyed its “chocolate and caramel notes with a hint of Biscoff biscuit flavour and a lovely nuttiness which develops into a bright and fresh acidity.” Having impressed at every stage of the blind-tasted judging process, as a record-breaking 12,777 entries were assessed over 14 weeks of remote judging and socially distanced judging sessions, the medium roast Bloomsbury Blend was celebrated as the best tasting product in the North during the virtual Great Taste Golden Fork award ceremony on Thursday 22 October. Taking place across the Guild of Fine Food’s social media channels and website, the online event brought together food lovers, producers, retailers, buyers and chefs to discover this year’s stars of food and drink, providing a vital boost for the industry as the nation moves towards the most important Christmas period in a generation. Held later in the year than usual, after the lockdown interrupted judging just one week into the schedule, the Golden Fork trophy announcements are the final instalment in a Great Taste calendar that has been reinvented at every stage, in order to stimulate much-needed consumer support for independent retail and hospitality over the challenging months ahead.
Great Taste 2020 judges (Photo:Great Taste)
There are some truly delicious looking products on the winning list this year, including three-star coffee and a 'rich, malty and warming' craft beer.
Great Taste are regarded as one of the world’s most trusted food and drink awards - if you see their coveted logo on any products, you know it will be delicious. Out of a massive 12,777 entries only 42% were awarded with a Great Taste accolade- 459 of which are based in Northern England alone.
How is food rated?
This year’s food, drinks and treats were found by a group of judges who have been putting their tastebuds to the test since the first week of lockdown. Awards are based on a variety of factors, from the texture and appearance to the quality of ingredients.
3-star: Extraordinarily tasty foods – only around 1.5% of products are awarded a 3-star each year – don’t leave the shop without buying it!
2-star: Above and beyond delicious – 10% of entries will achieve this rating
1-star: A food that delivers fantastic flavour. Approximately 30% of entries will achieve this rating each year.
Cheshire’s Great Taste winners
There was only one three-star winner in Cheshire this year- and that honour went to The Lost Barn Coffee Roasters for their Bloomsbury Blend.
The judges applauded this “rich and well-rounded” blend of naturally processed Mundo Novo beans from Brazil and washed Typica beans from Mexico, enjoying the coffee’s “chocolate and caramel notes with a hint of Biscoff biscuit flavour and a lovely nuttiness which develops into a bright and fresh acidity.”
Great Taste Golden Fork nominations