Cupping competition

Brazil: competitions & competition coffee

If you are a coffee competitor, or an avid fan of coffee competitions, your eyes will be on Brazil from November 7 to 9. Belo Horizonte will host this year’s International Coffee Week, which will feature not one but four world coffee championships:

  • World Coffee in Good Spirits Championship

  • World Latte Art Championship

  • World Cup Tasters Championship

  • World Brewers Cup

Veronika wows the (CCS) judges while training for her upcoming World Brewers Cup performance. Before her competition, Veronika will visit Carmo Coffees to cup some of their exciting new experimental lots.

Veronika wows the (CCS) judges while training for her upcoming World Brewers Cup performance. Before her competition, Veronika will visit Carmo Coffees to cup some of their exciting new experimental lots.


Brazil - the new origin for competition coffees

Our own Veronika Galova Vesela will be there, both as a competitor, and to source competition coffees for 2019.   

These events could not come at a better time for Brazil’s specialty coffee producers, like our partners in the region, Carmo Coffees. Carmo have been experimenting for several years with exotic varieties and innovative fermentation techniques, and just launched their own series of unique and surprising coffees, worthy of competition. That’s right, Brazil is producing competition coffee. 

CCS will be cheering for two competitors in the World Brewers Cup this year: Veronika, who will represent her home country Slovakia, brewing Finca Deborah, and Tom Kuyken, the Norwegian champion, who will brew an anaerobic Sudan Rume from Carmo Coffee’s experimental farm, Santuario Sul

The farm, which began almost five years ago, is a collaboration between Luiz Paulo Pereira, producer and exporter with Carmo Coffees, Camilo Merizalde, the pioneering Colombian behind the Santuario project, and fermentation expert, Ivan Solis, from Costa Rica. Santuario Sul currently has 30 hectares of land in coffee production, and they aim to expand to 70 hectares very soon. 


New varieties 

Santuario Sul features 25 different varietals, making it the biggest coffee garden in Brazil. Last year they harvested a their first crop of Sudan Rume. This year saw the first harvest of SL28. 

Innovative Processing

As the new trees began producing fruit, the team began to experiment with processing, including anaerobic fermentation. Rather than import expensive equipment from overseas, they looked in their own backyard. Carmo de Minas is dairy country — Luiz Paulo's grandmother is as famous for her cows as she is for coffee — so they bought a fermentation tank used for cheese making. 

The closed steel tanks are easy to clean and feature double walls and temperature controls, which Ivan Solís adapted to the exact temperature range required for coffee processing. The tank used on Santuario Sul can process 2000 liters of cherries at a time - around ten bags of green coffee.

Ivan Solis (right), fermentation and processing expert from Costa Rica, and Alessandro "Viola", processing manager at Irmas Pereira with the adapted cheese making fermentation tank used for anaerobic processing on several Carmo Coffees farms.

Ivan Solis (right), fermentation and processing expert from Costa Rica, and Alessandro "Viola", processing manager at Irmas Pereira with the adapted cheese making fermentation tank used for anaerobic processing on several Carmo Coffees farms.


The ANAEROBIC PROCESS at SANTUARIO SUL

The cherries are hand-picked to ensure perfect maturity, then washed to remove any juice excreted during the picking process which can significantly reduce the clarity in the cup. 

The team then measure the Brix levels of the cherries. If they are higher than 23, the cherries are used for anaerobic fermentation. If the Brix levels are lower than 23, they are destined to become naturals.  

The selected cherries are placed in the adapted dairy tank for 60 hours without any movement, then the tank is opened to check the PH level. When the PH of the mucilage inside the fermenting cherries reaches 4.5, it is time to take them out. 

After fermentation the cherries are removed and left to dry with the cascara still intact. Drying takes between 18 to 21 days, depending on the weather. The resulting cup is the perfect combination of washed and natural: clean, bright, full of fruit and sweetness. 

Learn more about the Santuario Sul project. 


Competing with Brazilians

Brazil is better known for espressos and blenders, than head-turning micro-lots, but Tom Kuyken is not the only barista who will present a Brazilian coffee this year. The location of the competitions has inspired many a coffee competitor to take a second look at this origin.

Finding your competition coffee

Are you looking for that stunning coffee to wow the judges in an upcoming competition? Check out our Competition Coffee offering, and get in touch with Veronika to book your lot now. 

Planning for next year? Before her competition Veronika will visit Carmo Coffees, to cup and learn, and discover those gems for shipment in 2019. Plus, we are thrilled to announce we will soon distribute Finca Deborah coffee, and we can expect more delicious surprises from our friends at La Palma y El Tucán, so stay tuned for exciting arrivals in the coming year. 

Valle Cafetero competition, 2018

August 1 – 3, 2018
Tulua, Valle del Cauca

Discover the enormous potential of Valle de Cauca, and uncover some hidden gems. 

CCS and Fairfield Trading invite you to the 14th annual Valle Cafetero competition in Valle del Cauca, organized by the department’s five FNC coffee cooperatives, and CAFEXCOOP mill. 

Valle del Cauca is an innovative yet lesser-known coffee growing department of Colombia. This is a rare opportunity to be part of a region’s coffee development, and add some unique and delicious coffees to your menu. 


Itinerary:

July 31: Arrive in Cali, Colombia. Transport to Tulua. 
August 1 to 3: Cupping and collaboration with producers
August 4: Return to Cali

Transportation to and from Cali airport, and accommodation in Tulua will be covered by the event organizers.
 

Agenda:

1. Cupping:
Assessing the top 30 micro-lots selected from 115 “micro-cuencas” in Valle de Cauca. 

2. Business round:
A time for buyers and growers to connect, discuss, network, build relationships, and possibly trade coffee. 
 

About Valle del Cauca:

Valle del Cauca is a department located on the Pacific coast, bordered by Chocó, Tolima and Cauca. This department is named after the Cauca river that runs through it, and this river is the basis of their unique approach to coffee cultivation. 

The National Federation of Coffee Growers (FNC) divides Colombia into 86 “ecotopos” (ecotopes in English) within seven different coffee growing regions. These ecotopos are geographical areas that share the same soil and climatic conditions. Using this guide, the FNC create sustainable development programs, technical and crop forecasting models, and study the relationship between climatic conditions of the ecotopos and the cup quality they produce.

In Valle del Cauca, the flowing waters of the Cauca River unite the people, so instead of using ecotopes to determine their coffee sustainability strategy, the department uses “Micro-Cuencas” or micro river basins. Micro-Cuencas are the epicenter of the community and the source of coffee quality.  Everyone, whether they work in coffee or not, must do their part to ensure the water is respected, because contamination flows downstream and negatively affects everything: the environment, the people, and ultimately, the coffee quality.  

Sustainability programs in Valle del Cauca work with the unique ecosystem of each Mirco-Cuenca. They encourage coffee cultivation in harmony with the natural resources, maintaining the balance of the local insect population, stimulating natural fertility of the soil, and conserving the river basin for the future of both coffee cultivation, and the community. 

Our partners in the region, Fairfield Trading, have worked with the group of cooperatives (organizers of this event) since 2002, serving as judges for the Valle Cafetero competition and purchasing winning lots of coffee. Alejandro Renjifo, founder of Fairfield Trading, is from this department, but that is not the only reason for his belief in its coffee growing potential. The exceptional coffees he has recently bought, coupled with the department’s unique approach to community and sustainability, has him convinced that Valle del Cauca will soon be one of the most highly regarded departments on Colombia’s coffee map. 
 

YOU'RE INVITED

Roasters, green coffee buyers and QC managers are invited to join us as judges of the Valle Cafetero 2018. For more information, and to register your interest, fill in the form below.

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LPET Tasters Challenge Recap

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Nine roasters from all over Europe joined us for this exciting challenge, with a few late entrants who cajoled the judges into letting them in on the fun. The prize had to be good in order to coax so many great cuppers away from the RAI Amsterdam to the considerably more stylish surrounds of the La Cabra pop up cafe. And it was an awesome prize indeed: an exclusive LPET Fermentation Pack from our friends La Palma y El Tucán

The  competition had three rounds: 

1. Tasting

Cuppers were presented with the four coffees that were part of the competition and given a chance to get to know the fermentation profiles:
Geisha Acetic
Sidra Natural
Typica Honey
Sidra Lactic


2. Triangulation

It was all-in for Round 2, with nine cuppers at the table at once. They all had ten minutes, but time mattered, and the fastest cuppers would move on to the finals. Nikko from Andante in Helsinki, Finland, flew through to the finals, while Tomas of Rebel Bean in Brno, Czech Republic, earned his place with a stellar time. 

All in for Round 2 of the LPET Tasters Challenge

All in for Round 2 of the LPET Tasters Challenge

 

3. Fermentation

In this final round Tomas and Nikko had to identify the fermentation method of the coffees: Acetic, Natural, Honey or Lactic. An informal round followed, as the cuppers gathered at the table to compare their thoughts with the selections of the finalists.
 

The winner:

Despite Nikko's prowess in the triangulation, it was Tomas of Rebel Bean who won the day! In a lightning quick time of 48 seconds, Tomas correctly identified two of the four fermentation methods. He left Amsterdam with a bag 4kg heavier than when he arrived. We can't wait to see what Rebel Bean do with these exclusive coffees. 

An enormous thank you to all who came for this fun event, and an extra special hug for La Cabra who provided the perfect venue. It was an ideal space, away from the craziness of the Roasters Village, to appreciate great coffee (and hear each other speak). 
 

How to get your hands on these coffees

Want to know how these innovative processing methods affect the cup? Looking for a unique coffee for your next competition? Check out our Competition Coffees page on Cropster Hub, and read this guide on buying greens for competition. 

 

 

LPET Tasters Challenge

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Win a 4kg Heroes Fermentation Pack from La Palma y El Tucán! 

Collaborative Coffee Source presents the LPET Tasters Challenge at World of Coffee, Amsterdam.

Friday June 22, 2pm at the La Cabra pop up cafe.  

Correctly identify the different cup and the fermentation method in this triangulation challenge, and you could win a selection of La Palma y El Tucán's Heroes Series. This limited edition WoC selection includes 4 x 1kg packs featuring different processes from this innovative producer from Colombia. 
 

Sign Up

Eight contestants will compete in this challenge. Register below and we will inform you on Monday June 18 if you have been selected. 

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CCS Colombia Tasters Challenge Recap

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.   

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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 Barrera (right), winner of the CCS Colombia Tasters Challenge, with Melanie Herrera, both from Bella Vista Mill, Guatemala

Dulce Barrera (right), winner of the CCS Colombia Tasters Challenge, with Melanie Herrera, both from Bella Vista Mill, Guatemala

Stacey Lynden of Pallet Coffee Roasters won 2nd place. 

Stacey Lynden of Pallet Coffee Roasters won 2nd place. 

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.