The CCS Colombia Tasters Challenge, attracted some serious cuppers. We had roasters, exporters, baristas, and two national Cup Tasters champions, Dulce Barrera who won Cup Tasters of Guatemala in consecutive years, and Steven Cuevas, 2017 US National Cup Tasters Champion.
The prize on offer that drew such high calibre contestants was a return flight to Huila, Colombia, for the next CCS Acevedo Cup, courtesy of our partners in the region, Fairfield Trading. To take home the prize in this triangulation challenge, the contestant needed to correctly identify the different coffee in eight sets in the final round.
The first round of the challenge was very competitive, making it quite an accomplishment to continue to the final round. After three heats of four contestants, the top three times were less than twenty seconds apart, with two perfect 4/4 scores. The third place finisher, Zane Derven of Black Oak Coffee Roasters, managed to get three of the four correct in only 2:38 minutes, a blazingly fast time and a respectable score, but only two could advance to the finals.
The finalists were two very talented cuppers, who scored full points in selecting the correct cup in the first round of competition. The ensuing matchup was a fierce competition, and the two competitors finished only four seconds apart. This meant the accuracy of their selections would ultimately decide the winner. Stacey Ann Lynden of Pallet Coffee Roasters put up an impressive score, with 4/8 cups selected correctly, but ultimately the top prize went to Dulce Barrera, who correctly selected 6/8 cups.
Dulce is part of the CCS family! She works as QC manager and Green Coffee Buyer for our partners in Guatemala, Bella Vista Mill. (We can assure you, there was no favoritism at play here, Juan Valdez was on hand to adjudicate and can swear that Dulce won the competition fair and square.)
I had the opportunity to cup with Dulce in Guatemala last week, so it was no surprise to me that she was able to navigate the difficult competition. Most impressive may be the fact that Dulce only started cupping consistently in 2016. Since then, she has posted back-to-back Guatemalan Cup Tasters titles.
Thanks to everyone who participated, and to our partners, Fairfield Trading, for a great competition.