A few months ago I noticed a 're-tweet' by Jonnie Drake, a Pro Barista that we follow on Twitter. 'Caffeine Magazine' were constructing an article to feature up and coming Micro Roasters and were seeking samples to compare in a taste test. What a perfect opportunity for publicity! I made some enquires and soon enough I had sent 500g of our own creation 'Purple Ribbon' Espresso Blend to their office. We could have supplied one of our single origins, however, I wanted to show off our skills not only as a roaster, but also that we know how to blend a range of origins for an all round optimised taste. After I sent the samples out, things went quiet for a few weeks. Being so busy in the roastery we had pretty much forgotten about the article, until I saw an update on the Caffeine Magazine twitter feed - a photograph showing a rucksack stuffed full of competition coffee on its way to the taste test! A few more updates followed showing the judges preparations being made. This was a point when I realised that I was actually quite nervous about this! I know what we do here is good, very good, but this was a direct contest between 20 other UK roasters, who probably have the same confidence in their own product as I do. This was a coffee battle being fought out in public... scary. A couple more weeks went by with no news. Until one day, in the baking 32c heat of summer, standing beside the roaster at full churn, I got a phone call from Scott, the Editor of Caffeine Mag. "Chris, I have some good news for you, all the judges really loved your coffee and you've made it through to the final 5". That was a really nice moment and I will remember it for a long time. From that moment it seemed like forever for the final result to be announced. It took a while for news to spread but eventually the results were out. We had not won. I was a little disappointed, who wouldn't be? But hey, you can't have everything in life! and 4th place is pretty damned good considering how new/small we are and how experienced/tough our opponents were. Not only that, the judges were very complimentary about our espresso blend so we'll be sure to enter next time, when no doubt it will be even harder.