Colombian Cup of Excellence 2009

I have just returned from Pereira Colombia after judging the 2009 Cup of Excellence competition.   Although tired, I'm thrilled about this experience.  It is so exciting going through the cupping process and seeing the award ceremony's on the final day.

COE #1 lot winner

 The Cup of Excellence competition is the most thorough and competitive screening process a coffee farm will put their coffee through.  The goal of COE is to bring out the best coffee a current region has to offer in the current crop year.  After the competition is over, the COE award is given to the top farmers who represent the best coffees that this region has to offer.  These coffees are then put in front of the world on an on-line auction which rewards these farmers for their focused attention to improving quality coffee, and puts a spot light on this region show-casing their excellence.

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Stage one Involves the submission from the farmers current crop of coffee.  Of the 512,000 families growing coffee in Colombia, only 374 submissions were sent in this year, which was relatively low do to the fact that Colombia's crop forecast is 30-40% lower than the year before.

All of these coffees are cupped and analyzed in Colombia by local cuppers.  All coffee scoring an 84 or higher (out of 100) move on to the second National Cupping jury.  The National Cupping Jury is chosen from the pool of local cuppers.  They are chosen for their cupping skills in the first stage.

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Consistency in roasting - Continual Improvement

Many coffee roasters, ourselves included, pride themselves with the consistency of their roasting team.  This is unfortunately hard to measure unless you are always drinking the same coffees from the same roasters.  If not, you're left to simply believe what your coffee roaster tells you....that they are indeed consistent.  At Fratello this isn't 'just talk', its something we are constantly improving, and constantly testing.

Probat coffee roaster

We begin in the coffee lab with the sourcing and cupping of fresh coffees received direct from Origin.  Often this is after we've traveled to Origin and worked directly with the farmers.   These coffees are then analyzed using the Cup of Excellence cupping strategies/methods.  This helps guide us to the right region, cooperative and farm we want to work with in a particular country.   Each sample is cupped a minimum of 4 times before moving on to the final round of cupping.  (more…)

Buying Trip to Brazil

Russ & I had the pleasure of taking some of our staff down to Brazil last month on an educational buying trip. We met farmers committed to more then just quality coffee, but also who were committed to making a difference in the environment and to the lives of people who worked for them on their farms.

We look forward to bringing to Calgary some of these special coffees and the stories of the families who put so much heart into producing them. I want to give a special thanks to Schieder and the good people of Tristao Trading for hosting our Fratello family while in Brazil. It was a fantastic trip!