Well it was the final day of the 2007 Bolivian Cup of Excellence competition. There was no better way to end off my journey than by seeing all of the hard working farmers and their families cheering each other on in hopes of being one of the 26 finalists.
It was incredible to see their faces filled with joy when their names were called one by one and recognized in front of all the media and their peers for the efforts to improve quality and consistency on their farms. It sure makes it easy for me to want to continue supporting the COE Competition when you get to hear stories of how this motivates them to improve what they do, and hear them tell us how their lives change through the exportation of their coffee to our roasting facilities.
You could see the pride in everyone attending, and they should be proud. To get to be one of the finalist means that you are one of the top (in this case top 26 farms) who scored an 84 or higher.
This year there were 130 farms that entered the competition. The national jury finalized this down to the top 50. Next the 26 international jury cupped each of these samples 4 times over two days. All of the coffees which scored over 84 move on to the second round of cupping. The 50 was shortened to 36, and again each sample was cupped 4 times by each person. The day after, the final day of cupping, we re-sampled the top 10, and these coffees are INCREDIBLE. You need to remember, that through out this entire process, that one bad cup, or one bad bean will eliminate them from the contest.
Overall this trip has been incredible. I seemed to learn something everyday from all the other roasters and cuppers attending this event. I’m going home tomorrow a better cupper, and have everyone else to thank. I’m leaving with better skills, great memories, improved knowledge of the COE competition and most of all, new friendships that I hope will last forever.
Thank you everyone for giving me memories to last a life time.