acevedo specialty coffee

Living Our Values: Celebrating Quality

The following is a excerpt from our report Collaborative Coffee Source, Living Our Values 2017.

Number one on our list of values is “We seek the right quality.” We use the word "seek" very consciously. We like to think we contribute to the development of quality by sourcing and rewarding quality, but we are well aware that we are not farmers, and can not lay claim to their hard work. However we can celebrate it, and that is the core purpose of events like the CCS Acevedo Cup.

The second CCS Acevedo Cup begins tomorrow and we are very excited to join Fairfield Trading and the community of Acevedo in this celebration. The event was delayed due to late harvests, and the past year was not a great one for coffee growers in Colombia, but we are committed to this group of producers and we will be there to celebrate their great coffees, in good years and bad.

The following story from our report encapsulates why this event is so important to us, and how we in the specialty industry can contribute to the cultivation of quality from afar.


Celebrating Quality

As buyers of specialty green coffee, we are not in a position to advise farmers on the finer points of coffee cultivation, we leave that to the agronomists. Instead, we contribute to the development of quality by celebrating, incentivizing and rewarding quality.

In January 2018 we will run the second CCS Acevedo Cup in Huila, Colombia, with our partners in the region, Fairfield Trading. This cupping competition is an opportunity for roasters and farmers to forge relationships, share experiences and gain knowledge, all great things. But the benefits extend well beyond the event itself.

Firstly, cupping competitions like the Acevedo Cup facilitate collaboration between farmers. Around twenty-five families attended the awards ceremony of the CCS Acevedo Cup 2016. Afterwards, community leaders met with the winners and their neighbors to discuss farm protocols and strategies that could be implemented on farms across the region.

Secondly, the CCS Acevedo Cup offers recognition, both within a farming community and among roasters, of the vision and dedication of the coffee farmers. By holding the event annually, and offering a financial reward to the winners, the CCS Acevedo Cup can be a tool for inspiring and incentivizing producers to improve quality year after year.

“I felt really proud,” said Alexander Ordoñez of Finca Los Naranjos, who won third place in the CCS Acevedo Cup 2016. “My wife and two children accompanied me [to the awards ceremony], and it was a beautiful experience because they are part of the work one does on the farm. And this third place prize motivates me to continue improving so I can win first place.”

Read the full report Collaborative Coffee Source, Living Our Values 2017.

The CCS Acevedo Cup 2016 Awards Ceremony

The CCS Acevedo Cup 2016 Awards Ceremony

Why farmers love meeting roasters at the CCS Acevedo Cup

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You’re invited: The second annual CCS Acevedo Cup 2018 with Fairfield Trading will be held next month in Huila Colombia, from the 17th to the 21st of January.
 

Come and explore the beauty of Acevedo, discover the exceptional coffees of this region of Huila, and spend time with these dedicated Colombian farmers. Email info@collaborativecoffeesource.com to reserve your place. 

The core of our business at CCS is connecting roasters to producers and forging long term relationships. The CCS Acevedo Cup is one of the most enjoyable and satisfying ways we achieve this.

It is hard to overstate the importance of having roasters attend this event. Their presence as judges and observers makes the farmers feel connected to the markets, and valued for their hard work and investment.

The cupping team, CCS Acevedo Cup 2016. Clockwise from top: Ria - Four Letter Word, Dillon - Parlor Coffee, Eduardo - Fairfield Trading, Melanie - CCS, Tali - Barismo.

The cupping team, CCS Acevedo Cup 2016. Clockwise from top: Ria - Four Letter Word, Dillon - Parlor Coffee, Eduardo - Fairfield Trading, Melanie - CCS, Tali - Barismo.

In 2016, twenty coffees were selected as finalists for the CCS Acevedo Cup. When interviewed by Eduardo Urquina of Fairfield Trading after the event, all twenty expressed their gratitude to the roasters who attended, and described their pride at reaching the top twenty.

Ciro Lugo of Finca San Pedro in La Marimba, who won fourth and sixth place, said being a finalist filled him with emotion “For the first time I received recognition for the work that, together with my family, we do [on our farm]. The CCS Acevedo Cup is a great achievement for coffee growers in Acevedo.”

Albeiro Lugo (left) and his father Ciro Lugo won 4th and 6th place in the CCS Acevedo Cup 2016

Albeiro Lugo (left) and his father Ciro Lugo won 4th and 6th place in the CCS Acevedo Cup 2016

Discovering quality

Very often, farmers are unaware of the quality of the coffee they produce. By entering the CCS Acevedo Cup they receive useful information in the form of  cupping scores and tasting notes. This data serves as both recognition of their labors, and incentive to continue investing and improving their coffee.

Jon Wilson Poveda almost didn’t enter the competition. “I knew of the CCS Acevedo Cup,” he said, “but I hesitated to enter and I didn’t imagine I could win, because I knew that my fermentation and drying facilities were not helping to process the coffee well.”  Jon inherited part of his farm, called “Danny” in La Marimba, and decided to buy another lot of land to increase production. Unfortunately that meant he didn’t have the funds to expand his fermentation facilities or improve his drying beds. In 2016 he also couldn’t find enough labour to pick his cherries fast enough, a common problem in the region.

However Eduardo Urquina of Fairfield Trading convinced Jon that several lots of his coffee were worth entering, and Jon won tenth place. Jon credits the forest reserve that borders his property for the quality of his coffee. The farm, which sits 1829 masl, draws water from the mountains to irrigate the coffee trees.

Leonte Polania of Finca El Ocazo in La Estrella was also surprised to place in the finals of the CCS Acevedo Cup. “I thought other producers had better varieties of coffee,” said the farmer who won 13th and 16th places. “We never rest during the harvest, it is arduous and constant,” Leonte explained. “Reaching the finals is the best compensation for that hard work.”

Sunset at Finca Bella Vista, living up to its name.

Sunset at Finca Bella Vista, living up to its name.

Specialty coffee as a sustainable model

The CCS Acevedo Cup is financial proof that specialty coffee can be sustainable for coffee farmers.

Elizabeth Abaunza of Finca La Esperanza in La Barniza described the validation of winning after much financial investment in their farm. “We received the news that we won 5th place with such joy. It wasn’t easy to improve the farm, we incurred debts and what we had, we earned with our own sweat. To receive this award is a relief and motivation to continue pursuing quality.”

“Selling traditional coffee isn’t profitable,” said Maria Bercerlia Martinez of Finca Los Angeles in La Marimba. With help from Fairfield Trading, Maria and her family have invested in improving quality in order to enter the specialty market, and their work was recognized when two lots of their coffee placed 9th and 20th.

“It was so gratifying to win two places in the final of the CCS Acevedo Cup 2016, thanks to the work of my husband and my son Daniel, who are so passionate about growing specialty coffee.”

Wilmer Cuellar of Finca Las Brisas in La Estrella was so proud to win 11th place, as it proved that producing high quality was financially viable. “I felt so happy to be representative of the group showing that quality coffee is the solution,” he said.

Wilmer was traveling at the time of the awards ceremony, but his wife and daughter attended, and proudly posted photos of the event on Facebook. “The other coffee growers congratulated us and we stood out in the coffee growing community.”


Meeting roasters

One of the best outcomes of the CCS Acevedo Cup are the relationships that are forged between roasters and producers.

Eighth place winner Otoniel Morales of Finca Las Delicias was very disappointed he couldn’t attend the awards ceremony of the CCS Acevedo Cup 2016, because he really wants to meet the people who buy his coffee. “It would have been fabulous to be present and to be recognized as a good coffee producer,” said the coffee grower from Marticas. “To know that what I produce is appreciated by coffee buyers, that is what motivates me to achieve the best quality.”

Julian Castro of the farm Villa Juliana was proud to receive 15th place. “Our coffee wasn’t the first, but it was among the best of many coffees entered!”

“The competition was well organized,” he said. “For my part, I want to thank the roasters who came. Thanks to them I got to show my coffee, and I hope they repeat the event in the future.”

Join us for the CCS Acevedo Cup 2018, Jan 17 to 21st and be part of this special event, recognizing the great work of farmers in the Acevedo region, and the exceptional coffees they are producing. Email info@collaborativecoffeesource.com for more information. 

The top ten coffee producers, CCS Acevedo Cup, 2016

The top ten coffee producers, CCS Acevedo Cup, 2016

CCS Acevedo Cup, January 2018

Join us for the second CCS Acevedo Cup by Fairfield Trading and Collaborative Coffee Source.

Wednesday Jan 17 to Sunday Jan 21, 2018 Acevedo, Huila, Colombia

Places are limited. Email info@collaborativecoffeesource.com to book your place.

The award ceremony, CCS Acevedo Cup 2016

The award ceremony, CCS Acevedo Cup 2016

The value of cupping competitions

The CCS Acevedo Cup is valuable in so many ways. For roasters it offers a condensed experience of a region, a chance to meet many farmers and cup their coffees at once, to see their land, engage in their community, understand their hopes and plans for the future.

For the coffee growing community of Acevedo it offers a chance to meet the people who buy, roast and serve their coffee, to learn about the markets where their coffees are sold, and the impressions of the consumers who drink the final product. The CCS Acevedo Cup also offers the farmers a reason to get together, to share knowledge, skills, experience and stories.

And, of course, cupping competitions like these offer recognition for the hard work of the farmers. This recognition, combined with the financial reward for the winners, incentivizes continued effort to produce high quality coffee. 

Alexander Ordoñoz, proud third place winner of the CCS Acevedo Cup 2016.

Alexander Ordoñoz, proud third place winner of the CCS Acevedo Cup 2016.

“I felt really proud,” said Alexander Ordoñez of Finca Los Naranjos, who won third place in the CCS Acevedo Cup 2016. “My wife and two children accompanied me [to the award ceremony], and it was a beautiful experience because they are part of the work one does on the farm. And this third place prize motivates me to continue improving so I can win first place.”


CCS Acevedo Cup, postponed for one month 

The inaugural CCS Acevedo Cup ran in December 2016, which means this event is delayed slightly. Unfortunately weather has been working against the farmers of Acevedo this year. Heavy rains caused later flowering, and as we are seeing in so many regions, the harvest has been delayed. It happens in agriculture — there are good years and bad years. Sadly for the Acevedo community, this isn’t a great year. 

Regardless, there will be some great coffee to cup come January. Rather than cancel the event, we decided to postpone it for one month, giving farmers a little more time to harvest and process their coffee, and to give our partners Fairfield Trading the time to properly cup and select the best entries for the competition. Both Fairfield Trading and CCS are enormously proud of this event, and we are committed to recognizing the hard work and delicious coffee of the Acevedo coffee growing community, in good years, and not so good years.

We look forward to sharing this experience with you. Email info@collaborativecoffeesource.com to book your place.

Acevedo Cup: Recap

The CCS Acevedo Cup 2018 Awards Ceremony

The CCS Acevedo Cup 2018 Awards Ceremony

The inaugural Acevedo Cup was one of the most inspired/inspiring events CCS was a part of in 2016. What a motivating way to finish off the year. It’s difficult to imagine just how much preparatory work the Fairfield team had done in advance of the competition but the resulting four days we spent cupping, discussing, scoring and ranking the top 20 lots were an absolute pleasure.

Those of you who’ve cupped at origin know how arduous full cupping days can be, so the fact our group of judges enjoyed cupping and re-cupping these coffees says everything about the standards to which the Fairfield team operates.

This competition was a great way to start our work in the Acevedo municipality of Huila. It gave us the opportunity to taste a wide variety of cup profiles available within this community, while the closing ceremonies, in turn, gave the community the opportunity to learn about CCS’ and Fairfield’s work and ambitions for working in and around Acevedo.

Between 20-30 families came to the closing ceremonies and while many of them weren’t “winners” in the sense of having submitted top-20 coffees, it was fascinating to speak with several of the families afterward and learn about their perceptions not only about the competition, but about how they view working with Fairfield and us in the long-term. Some well-established community leaders were in attendance and they had already decided to organize meetings amongst Acevedo Cup winners and their neighbours to first discuss the winners’ protocol and strategies for the winning lots, and then determine how and what strategies neighbouring farms could implement to improve their own production.

Left to right Eduardo Urquina of Fairfield Trading, Miller Bustos collecting the certificate for his brother Fernando Bustos, and Alejandro Renjifo of Fairfield Trading. 

Left to right Eduardo Urquina of Fairfield Trading, Miller Bustos collecting the certificate for his brother Fernando Bustos, and Alejandro Renjifo of Fairfield Trading. 

Field Notes

Day 1

Calibration round + two competition tables. Screened 29 coffees down to 12 which will move on to the next round.

Learned about the National Learning Service (SENA), a government initiative that provides workers, adults and youths with technical training within the areas of industry, trade, agriculture, mining and cattle breeding. Some of volunteers helping with the Acevedo Cup are students of SENA and are currently undergoing training to become professional baristas, cuppers and roasters.

Day 2

Screened 29 coffees down to 12. Day 3 is the cupping of the top-24 coffees from Days 1 & 2.

First introduced to the winning coffee which I described as one of the best coffees I cupped all year. I gave it a score of 93 points with the following aroma/flavour descriptions: a floral, lemony, jasmine, and bergamot aroma. Cup is complex, juicy, well-structured, citrusy, clean, with a red currant finish. This coffee has all the elegance of great washed Ethiopian coffees, while also maintaining a Kenyan-like acidity.

Day 3

Top-24 coffees screened down to top-20. Ranks 11-20 determined today; top-10 will be cupped and ranked on Day 4.

Visited Los Angeles farm, owned by Maria Bercelia and her partner, Jose Erazo. We purchased coffee from them for our first ever shipment from Acevedo and are pretty certain at least one of their coffees will be amongst the winning coffees.

Day 4

Final round/table of top-10 coffees.

Winners, lot sizes (per 70kg bags) and varieties are as follows:

#10: Jhon Wilson Poveda, 11 bags, Colombia & Caturra

#9: María Bercelia, 15 bags, Colombia & Caturra

#8: Otoniel Morales, 7 bags, Castillo

#7: Nicolas Delgado, 18 bags, Colombia & Castillo

#6: Ciro Lugo, 12 bags, Colombia

#5: Elizabeth Abaunza, 5 bags, Caturra

#4: Ciro Lugo, 12 bags, Colombia

#3: Alexander Ordoñez, 12 bags, Colombia & Tabi

#2: Fernando Bustos, 18 bags, Colombia

#1: Jesucita Cuellar, 5 bags, Tabi

Jesucita is a new grower to Fairfield and the Fairfield cupping team hypothesized that this coffee would win the competition during their screening of all the coffees submitted for competition. Must learn more about the Tabi variety!

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Ciro Lugo won 4th and 6th place. 

Ciro Lugo won 4th and 6th place. 

Final Notes

A big thank you to our three roaster judges:

Ria Neri, Four Letter Word, Chicago, IL

Tali Robbins, Barismo, Cambridge, MA

Dillon Edwards, Parlor Coffee, Brooklyn, NY

The remainder of the judging panel were Ana Beatriz Bahamon, Eduardo Urquina Sanchez, Esnaider Ortega & Alejandro Renjifo, all of Fairfield Trading; along with David Stallings & myself, who represented CCS.

Until next time,

Melanie

The Acevedo Cup

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Acevedo x Fairfield & CCS

Partly in celebration of our new partnership with Fairfield Trading and mostly in celebration of the fantastic work of the ambitious and skilled coffee producers in the Acevedo microregion of Huila, Colombia, we're excited and proud to announce the Acevedo Cup competition!
 

What it is

A regional coffee quality competition. The Fairfield team has put out a call to Acevedo coffee farmers for submissions of their best coffees. They will spend the next weeks busily collecting, organizing and cupping/screening samples in preparation for the main event: a ranking of the top-20 coffees that we are now inviting you to take part in.
 

Who this is open to and How you can join

Participation is open to CCS clients and will be determined on a first-come-first served basis. We will take the first six roasters who confirm their attendance.

You will get yourselves to Bogota and we'll take things from there.

When: 16-21 December 2016

You'll arrive in Bogotá no later than the 15th of December and we'll all depart for Pitalito on the 16th of December.

The program in brief:

17 & 18 December: Preliminary Rounds 1 & 2

19 December: Top 20 cupping & ranking

20 December: Visits to top 3 farms and celebration party

21 December: Morning hike and travel back to Bogotá