December 13, 2020
We both love a good cup of coffee, but before embarking on this project we didn't realise the amount of great coffee that is produced in Yorkshire.
Dark Woods were founded in 2013 and have quickly amassed an impressive amount of awards, recently winning more “stars” than any other coffee company in The 2019 Great Taste Awards, as well as "Golden Fork" for Best Northern Product.
They have great relationships with some of the UK’s most high-profile food and drink outlets, such as Liberty and Fortnum & Mason and even collaborate with renowned breweries such as Magic Rock to create the ultimate triple coffee porter 'Common Grounds'. This coffee won a coveted 3-star Gold award in both the 2017 & 2018 Great Taste Awards. GTA judges commented that:
“Common Grounds has great nose; feels like you can taste the barrels in the aroma. It delivers a big hit of blackcurrants and forest fruits. With milk, the fruits are even more pronounced. Funky, sweet, rich, and smooth. Delicious. 3 star.”
Magic Rock use whiskey barrels to age some of their beers in. This mellows the flavours of the beer and adds complexity from the wood and the traces of whiskey. The results are stunning. A faint aroma of the whiskey (especially when you grind it!) gives way to a sweet smooth vanilla flavour. Just delicious.
We were lucky enough to grab some time with Paul Meikle-Janney, who himself has an impressive history in the world of coffee. He has acted as consultant and trainer to a host of high street brands including coffee retailers, machine manufacturers and ingredient manufacturers.
Paul gave us a good overview of the Dark Woods range, helping us to select the right product for our hampers, but also educating us about the subtle differences between beans and different roasts. We were also grateful to get a feel for their premises, which is a transformed Victorian weaver’s mill on the banks of the River Colne. The Mill is a roastery, a Barista School and, at times, a community space where tasting evenings and pop-up café events are a popular part of the local events calendar. We can't wait to go back when times are back to normal!
The only downside to the trip was that on the way home, we stopped off for a little wander around Hebden Bridge. We'd drunk so much coffee but had forgotten that during a nationwide lockdown the public toilets are all shut! Only an hour to get home.. still worth it :)