Friends in Czech Republic, CCS is coming to town for the Prague Coffee Festival. Veronika will be there, brewing with our friends at Coffee Desk, and visiting CCS family members including Populus Coffee, Doubleshot, Nordbeans, Casino Mocca, Diamond’s Roastery, Morgon Coffee Roasters, and Kavárna Pražírna.
Join us in the Cupping Room on Saturday October 20 at 1.30pm to cup some fresh crops from Costa Rica, and La Palma y El Tucán from Cundinamarca, Colombia. Plus we will have a selection of incoming coffees from Peru, a new origin for CCS.
Veronika is around to meet and discuss your roastery’s menu, forward planning for 2019, or just to have a chat. Email Veronika to make a time.
Nico is currently in Cundinamarca, Colombia, at the La Palma y El Tucán farm. He is cupping coffees, discovering the latest innovations in varieties and processing, and finding some time for a few beers and a game of tejo. Follow Nico’s adventures on Instagram.
Who are La Palma y El Tucán?
La Palma y El Tucán are pioneering producers from Cundinamarca, challenging the status quo of coffee cultivation and processing in one of the world’s largest producing countries, Colombia.
The name comes from two rare species they discovered cohabiting on their land when they purchased the 18 hectare plot: the Emerald Toucan and the endangered Wax Palm. These species live in a happy symbiotic relationship, something the team hope to emulate with coffee and community.
LPET Heroes Series
Within just a few years, the name La Palma y El Tucán was all over the coffee competition circuit. On their own farm, they grow exotic varieties like Geisha, Sidra and SL28, and experiment with different fermentation techniques to produce unique and sometimes wild flavors in the cup. These coffees are called their Heroes Series, and they continue to attract judges attention at the international level in barista and brewing competitions.
All coffees in the Heroes Series score 89 points or above, and are sold in 25kg boxes. Only 100 boxes are available each year, worldwide.
See our available Heroes Series lots in the CCS Competition Coffee shop on Cropster Hub.
LPET Neighbors and Crops
The Neighbors and Crops program was created to help producers with small farms and limited processing infrastructure gain access to the specialty market. These producers are cultivating typical Colombian varieties including Caturra, Castillo, Colombia, Typica, and Bourbon. LPET buy cherries directly and transport them to their state-of-the-art facility for processing. The team work with more than 70 coffee-growing families located within 10km of the LPET farm.
Building a sustainable community
LPET hope to revitalize the coffee growing culture of Cundinamarca by buying and processing exceptional coffee cherries from farmers who would otherwise not have access to the post-harvest infrastructure required to process high quality coffee. Additionally they invest in innovative practices to protect the local ecosystem.
The average age of producers in the Neighbors and Crops program is over 60 years old, and younger generations who don't see a future in coffee farming seek new opportunities in cities like Bogotá (often with little success). LPET believe for future generations to continue cultivating coffee, it has to make economic sense, so they offer the following to their Neighbors and Crops partners:
- Prices that are at least 50% more than the country's average;
- Training for local cherry pickers in high-quality coffee harvesting methods;
- Transportation of cherries to the LPET processing facility;
- Donations of trees raised in the LPET nursery;
- Donations of organic fertilizers created by composting cherry pulp on the LPET farm.
LPET & Sustainablility
In addition to sustaining their community, LPET are committed to sustaining the environment. Part of the LPET farm is dedicated to an agroforestry project and the team grow a wide range of complimentary crops, including beans, corn and bananas, nestled amongst perennial tree species including cedar, avocado, walnut and guayacan.
This is all done using organic farming methods, decreasing the need for inputs for their coffee trees. The intention of this model is to leave the land enriched and viable, to support the community nutritionally and financially for generations to come.
LPET Neighbors and Crops Exclusive Purchasing
These are small lots of lovingly processed coffees, and from this harvest, we will be offering them as complete lots. Select your producer and have exclusive access to that coffee in Europe. Minimum purchase is 10 x 35kg bags. There are only fifteen lots for all of Europe, and nine are already booked. Make sure you don't miss out, contact Nico to find out what is still available. When all coffees have been booked we will put you on a wait list.
To book your exclusive lot from the 2018 harvest, contact Nico.
To order current crop Neighbors and Crops, available by the bag, see our Colombian offers list.
LPET Cuppings in Oslo
We will be cupping these coffees at our upcoming Summer’s End Celebration. On Tuesday September 4th we’ll cup Neighbors and Crops and on Wednesday September 5th we will feature the LPET Heroes Series in our special Competition Coffees cupping. Sign up for this event in the form below.
LPET Tasters Challenge Part II
For those of you who missed out in Amsterdam, here is your chance to get your hands on some of this exclusive coffee with the LPET Tasters Challenge Part II, at our Summer's End Celebration in September.
Eight contestants will battle in a triangulation competition, with the extra challenge of identifying La Palma & El Tucán's different fermentation methods and exotic varieties.
The winner will take an amazing prize: a full 12.5kg brick of an LPET Heroes Series coffee!
The competition will be on Day 2 of the Summer's End Celebration, Wednesday September 5th, in the CCS Oslo HQ.
There are a few spaces left for this exclusive event. Complete the form below to reserve yours.
Sign me up for the CCS Summer's End Celebration, Sep 2018
Dos cosas me impactaron cuando conocí a María Bercelia Martinez en su finca en Acevedo, Huila. Primero, que ella y su familia tenían una aproximación diferente al cultivo del café. Segundo, lo unida que era su familia, aún en comparación a otras familias colombianas. Curiosa de saber más sobre ella, le pedí que diera un poco más de información sobre ella. Así fue que ella le escribió esta carta a CCS.
No es fácil de leer, en especial para alguien que conoce la generosidad, el afecto y la determinación de esta mujer. Tristemente, es una historia común en Colombia y es posible oír diferentes versiones de cualquier persona que vive en el campo. Eso no la vuelve menos conmovedora o menos importante de leer.
Gracias por esta oportunidad de contar un poco de mi vida y de mis inicios con el café.
En 1982 mis padres se separaron, y tuve que cuidar de mi mamá y de mis dos hermanos menores. En 1984 me casé con José Vianey Erazo, y juntos trajimos al mundo a nuestros tres hijos, Andrea, Diego y Daniel.
Mi esposo y yo comenzamos nuestro negocio propio con los pocos recursos que teníamos entonces. Iniciamos con una pequeña ferretería en el pueblo de El Tigre, en el departamento del Putumayo y, gracias a Dios, pudimos comprar un terreno y construir una casa. Con ese hogar, nuestro negocio y nuestros hijos, fuimos muy felices. Habíamos realizado nuestros sueños, y pensamos que podríamos vivir allí toda la vida.
Tristemente, no habría de ser así. De un momento al otro, empezó la fiebre por plantar cultivos ilícitos (tales como coca, el insumo necesario para la cocaína) en nuestra región, aquellos que tanto daño le han hecho a nuestro país. Con estos cultivos llegaron las guerrillas y tomaron control del área con la ayuda de “milicianos” (colaboradores de la guerrilla). Fue una época terrible donde se asesinaban personas a diario y muchas veces por razones injustas.
Como vivíamos en medio de la zona controlada por la guerrilla, todas las autoridades gubernamentales nos miraban a todos como si fuéramos guerrilleros, aunque muchos vivíamos de nuestros negocios y éramos inocentes. Eramos más los buenos que los malos, pero nos juzgaban a todos por igual.
Vivíamos tan tranquilamente como era posible, en la medida en que no nos metimos en problemas y solo nos dedicábamos a cuidar nuestros hijos y atender nuestro negocio. Eso fue así, hasta 1999. A media noche llegaron los paramilitares (grupo mercenario financiado por el narcotráfico y el mismo gobierno para combatir las guerrillas), se tomaron el pueblo y asesinaron a sangre fría y sin discriminación a 32 personas, en su mayoría inocentes. Desaparecieron muchas otras. Quedaron muchas familias destruidas; mujeres solas, hijos huérfanos. A nosotros, gracias a Dios, no nos pasó nada. Nada físico, porque el corazón y nuestra tranquilidad quedaron destruidos. Perdimos muchos amigos. Fue un momento de gran tristeza que marco nuestras vidas.
Quedamos sin saber qué hacer ni para donde ir. No queríamos dejar abandonado todo lo que habíamos logrado, nuestro esfuerzo, nuestra vida. Los paramilitares dejaron una amenaza: iban a regresar para rematar a los que nos quedáramos. Esos días nos fuimos a quedar donde un hermano que vivía en La Hormiga, un pueblo vecino. Mirando a nuestros hijos pequeños decidimos que no era el sitio donde debían estar. Decidimos reunir algunos recursos y compramos un lote en Pitalito, Huila, y construimos una casa. Estábamos felices. Era una ciudad tranquila y no se escuchaba violencia por ningún lado. Mis hijos estudiaban en buenos colegios, pero como ni mi esposo ni yo teníamos buena formación académica no fue fácil encontrar trabajo y los gastos de la ciudad eran muchos.
Tomamos una decisión difícil. Dejamos a nuestros hijos solos en Pitalito para que terminaran sus estudios básicos y de bachillerato, y nosotros emprendimos un viaje a un pueblo llamado Llorente, en el departamento de Nariño. Era un pueblo dominado por la guerrilla, los paramilitares y el narcotráfico. No era lo que queríamos hacer. No queríamos volver a vivir en carne propia la violencia, pero trabajar como comerciantes en el negocio de la ferretería era lo único que podíamos hacer. Gracias a Dios fuimos muy responsables con nuestros proveedores, quienes nos abrieron sus puertas para iniciar de nuevo con el negocio. En poco tiempo teníamos un negocio bueno y rentable y nuestra situación económica volvía a estar bien.
Pero no todo era felicidad. Nuestros hijos permanecían prácticamente solos todo el tiempo. Los podíamos ver cada seis meses cuando salían a vacaciones, pero con la ayuda de Dios, ellos terminaron el bachillerato. Andrea siguió su carrera universitaria como contadora pública y Daniel empezó odontología.
La situación en Llorente se tornó critica. Nosotros vivíamos casi como secuestrados. Abríamos la ferretería a las 6:00 de la mañana y cerrábamos a las 6:00 de la tarde. Luego de esa hora nos encerrábamos, porque los grupos armados habían prohibido salir después de esa hora. El que desobedeciera era asesinado. La violencia se apoderó del pueblo y la guerra por el poder no daba tregua. Desafortunadamente, no teníamos opción sino quedarnos; era la única forma de conseguir los recursos económicos para que mis hijos siguieran en la universidad. Eso fue, hasta que asesinaron a mi primo.
Nunca supimos por qué fue asesinado, porque nuestra familia nunca se involucró en la guerra o la violencia, pero no estábamos sorprendidos. Los paramilitares contactaron a mi esposo y le dijeron que fuera a recoger el camión que mi primo había estado manejando, que nos pertenecía. Cuando mi esposo llegó, un soldado paramilitar le dijo que no informara del sitio donde lo habían asesinado y desmembrado, porque no tenían planeado regresar el cuerpo a la familia. Pero la familia de mi primo hizo su propia averiguación, encontraron el sitio donde lo habían enterrado, lo exhumaron y le dieron un sepelio de acuerdo a sus creencias.
Desafortunadamente, esto creo problemas para nosotros. Los paramilitares pensaron que habíamos sido nosotros quienes les habíamos dicho a la familia de mi primo sobre su asesinato, y amenazaron con matarnos. Tuvimos que dejar Llorente inmediatamente, así que dejamos nuestro negocio atrás.
Lo único que queríamos era estar cerca de nuestros hijos y vivir una vida pacífica. De esa manera nos volvimos caficultores. Nos gustaba la idea de trabajar en el campo y con un producto insignia de nuestro país. Compramos la finco Los Ángeles, y comenzamos a cultivar café.
Al principio no sabíamos nada del cultivo del café, de la siembra, de la recolecta, de la fermentación o del lavado. Ni siquiera sabíamos como venderlo. No entendíamos qué era el factor de rendimiento y cómo afectaba el precio del café. No endeudamos por qué a veces nos pagaban menos. Afortunadamente somos gente de negocio y emprendedores. Contratamos a un caficultor local para que nos enseñara y aprendimos sobre la prueba de taza y como afecta el precio que se nos paga. Fue ahí cuando decidimos tratar de cultivar café de alta calidad. Pudimos sostener a la familia y, gracias a Dios, mi hija pudo terminar su carrera, cumpliendo mis sueños para ella de ser una profesional educada.
Mi felicidad no era completa, y mi corazón todavía duele por Daniel. Cuando el estaba en el cuarto año de universidad (de cinco), hubo una crisis en los precios del café en Colombia. Tuvimos que pedir unos préstamos para cubrir los sueldos de nuestros recolectores; de lo contrario, nos hubiéramos arriesgado a que se pudriera el café en el árbol. Logramos aferrarnos a nuestra finca, pero no pudimos pagar los gastos de la universidad, y Daniel se vio obligado a dejar sus estudios. Hice todo lo que pude para que se volviera una realidad, pero fallé. Hasta este día seguimos pagando los prestamos que tomamos para mantener la finca andando.
Esta es la frustración de producir café. Los precios para el café especializado están enlazados con precios inestables de materias primas, aunque es un producto muy diferente. Producir café especializado requiere más dinero, más tiempo, más atención y más determinación. En estos días, todo lo que la fina produce, va a pagar nuestras deudas y no tenemos el dinero para invertir en la misma finca. Vemos los estragos de esto, con una baja producción y una mala densidad en el grano respecto a lo que solían ser.
Quisiera a veces que José y yo hubiéramos continuado nuestras vidas en el Putumayo, criando a nuestros hijos y administrando nuestra ferretería. Estábamos bien financieramente, y teníamos los medios para educar a nuestros hijos; pero estábamos rodeados de violencia y no podía mantener a mi familia a salvo.
Pero, como dice el dicho colombiano, “no hay mal que por bien no venga”. A pesar de nuestras dificultades, aprendimos el valor de la vida y de la familia. Y, descubrimos el mundo del café! Fue frustrante ver a nuestros hijos abandonar sus estudios universitarios y cambiar sus libros por guadañas y cocos de recolección, pero me siento afortunada porque ahora vivo lejos de la violencia.
Estoy enamorada del café, y estoy muy feliz de estar con mis hijos. Me trae mucha alegría trabajar junto a ellos para construir una mejor vida para nosotros mismos.
Hemos pensado vender la mitad de la finca para poder pagar nuestras deudas y empezar a re invertir. Buscamos un socio que conozca el mundo del café y que comparta nuestro sueño de producir la mejor calidad. Sé que mi finca tiene un gran potencial y sin la presión de pagar nuestras deudas, podremos vivir una vida más relajada.
Pero hay otra cosas que me motivan, como trabajar con ustedes. Con su apoyo y experiencia y el valor que le dan a mi trabajo, puedo sentir que he logrado mis sueños. La experiencia de recibirlos en mi casa ha sido una de las más bonitas, y siempre espero con ansias su regreso al país, para que vengan a visitarme, poder atenderlos con alegría y amor, un buen pedazo de carne ahumada y cerveza. Podemos compartir una charla entre amigos, y poder contarles sobre nuestro esfuerzo para mejorar día a día y así lograr un buen café.
Esta es una breve descripción de la historia de mi familia, de donde vengo, las situaciones que he debido enfrentar con mi esposo, que le han dado forma a mi carácter y a mi deseo por ir siempre hacia adelante. Me han salido algunas lágrimas escribiendo esta carta, pero lo hice con gran amor por el equipo de Collaborative Coffee Source.
Agradezco su interés en mis origines y en mis sueños. Espero que nos puedan visitar de nuevo pronto!
Two things struck me when I met Maria Bercelia Martinez on her farm in Acevedo, Huila. Firstly, that she and her family approach coffee cultivation a little differently. Secondly, her family are especially close, even by Colombian standards. Curious to know more, I asked her to give me some background. So she wrote CCS this letter, which explains her unique perspective on coffee, and the joy her family exude just being together. It also tells a very sad story.
This letter is not easy to read, certainly not for anyone who knows this woman’s generosity, warmth and determination. Unfortunately, it is a common story in Colombia and you will hear versions of it from almost everyone who lives in the countryside. That doesn’t make it any less heartbreaking, or any less important to read.
I have translated this letter from Spanish, edited for brevity, and I have added some notes in brackets to give context where needed, but as much as possible, I have tried to keep Maria’s story in her own words. We are so honored she agreed to let us share it with you.
Thank you for this opportunity to tell you a little of my life and my beginnings with coffee.
In 1982 my parents separated, and I had to take care of my mother and my two younger siblings. In 1984 I married Jose Vianey Erazo, and together we brought into the world our three children, Andrea, Diego and Daniel.
My husband and I began our own business with the few resources we had at the time. We began with a small hardware business in the town of El Tigre, in the department of Putomayo, and, thanks to God, we were able to buy a piece of land and build a house. With that home, our business and our children, we were so happy. We had realized our dreams, and we thought we would live there forever.
Sadly, it was not to be. Suddenly, there was a great rush to grow illicit crops in our region (such as coca, the raw material for cocaine), those that have done such damage to my country. With those crops came the guerrillas and they took control of our area with the help of “milicianos” (guerrilla collaborators). It was a terrible time, people were killed daily, and for unjust reasons. There was no help from the government or military. They viewed anyone who lived in a guerrilla controlled area as guerrillas, even though most of us were merely hard working people living our lives, running businesses, raising families.
We lived as peacefully as we could, we didn’t put ourselves in trouble’s way and we dedicated ourselves to caring for our children and running our business. That was, until 1999. That was the year the paramilitaries arrived. These are mercenary armies created to combat the guerrillas, sometimes financed by narco-traffickers, sometimes financed by the government. One night they arrived in the early hours of the morning and took control of the town. That night they murdered 32 people in cold blood and without discrimination. In the following months many more people disappeared, families were left destroyed, mothers became widows, children were orphaned.
We thank God nothing happened to us, or that at least we suffered no physical loss. But our hearts were broken and our sense of security was destroyed. We lost so many friends. It was a an era of such great sadness, one that marked our lives.
We didn’t know what to do or where to go. We didn’t want to abandon everything we had achieved, our hard work, our life, but the paramilitaries threatened to return to kill all those who remained in the village, so we left. We stayed with my brother in the nieghboring village called La Hormiga, but it was not a safe place for our children. So, we gathered all our resources and bought a small plot of land in Pitalito, Huila and built a house. There was no mention of violence in that region. Our children could study in good schools. We we were happy to be safe.
However my husband and I couldn’t find jobs. We never received a good education which made it difficult, and the cost of living in that city was so high. We had an opportunity to open another hardware store in a town called Llorente, in the department of Nariño. It was a town caught between guerrillas, paramilitaries and narco-traffickers. We did not want to return to that violence, but running a hardware store was all we knew how to do. We made the difficult decision to leave our children alone in Pitalito, where they would be safe and could finish high school, and Jose and I moved to Llorente.
Our business was successful. We had been very responsible towards our suppliers in the hardware business in Putomayo, and all of them opened their doors when we decided to start again. In a short period of time we were making a profit and our economic situation was once again stable.
We were unhappy that our children lived alone. We only saw them once every six months when they could take a vacation. However it was worth the sacrifice. With the help of God, Andrea and Daniel finished high school. Andrea began studying a degree in accounting at the local university, and Daniel soon followed to study dentistry.
Sadly the security situation in Llorente deteriorated. Armed groups imposed a nighttime curfew, and to ignore the curfew was to be killed. We lived like hostages in our own home. We opened the hardware store at 6am, and closed at 6pm, then we locked ourselves inside. Violence took over the town and the war for power between different armed groups gave no respite. We had no option but to stay, it was the only way we could afford to keep our children at university. That was, until the day the paramilitaries killed my cousin.
We never learned why he was killed, because our family never got involved in the war or violence, but we were not surprised. The paramilitary contacted my husband and told him to come and pick up the truck my cousin had been driving, which belonged to us. When my husband arrived, a paramilitary soldier told him not to inform anyone of the place where they murdered and dismembered my cousin, because they did not plan to deliver the body to the family. But my cousin’s wife, and children did their own investigation and found the place where he was buried. They exhumed him, and gave him a burial according to his beliefs.
Unfortunately this created problems for us. The paramilitaries thought we had told my cousin’s family about his murder, and they threatened to kill us. We had to leave Llorente immediately, so we walked away from our business.
The only thing we wanted was to be close to our children and to live a peaceful life. This was how we came to be coffee producers. We liked the idea of working in the fields, cultivating the signature product of our country. So we bought the farm, Los Angeles and began cultivating coffee.
In the beginning we didn’t know anything about coffee farming, we didn’t know how to grow coffee, how to pick it, ferment or wash it, we didn’t even know how to sell it. We didn’t understand Yield Factors and how they affect the price of coffee. We didn’t understand why sometimes we were paid less. Fortunately we are business people and hard workers. We hired a local coffee grower to teach us, and we learned about cup quality and how it affects the price we are paid. That’s when we decided to try and grow high quality coffee. We were able to support our family, and thanks to God and coffee, my daughter finished her degree, fulfilling my dreams for her to become an educated professional.
However my heart still aches for Daniel. When he was in the fourth year of his degree (of five years), there was a crisis in coffee prices in Colombia. We had to borrow money to cover the wages of our pickers, or face letting the coffee cherries rot on the trees. We managed to hold on to our farm, but we couldn’t afford the university fees, and Daniel had to quit his studies. I dreamed he would become an educated professional, and I did everything I could to make this a reality, but I failed. To this day we are still paying off the loans we took to keep the farm running.
This is the frustration of producing coffee. Prices for specialty coffee are linked to unstable commodities price, even though the product is different. Producing specialty coffee requires more money, more time, more attention and more determination. These days everything we earn goes to paying off our debts, and we don’t have the money to invest in the farm itself. We are seeing how detrimental this is, production is dropping and our beans have poorer density than they used to.
I wish Jose and I could have continued our lives in Putomayo, raising our children and running our hardware business. We were doing well financially, and we had the means to educate our children, but we were surrounded by violence and I could not keep my family safe.
But, as the Colombian saying goes “there is no bad that doesn’t produce some good.” Despite our difficulties we learned the value of life and of family. And, we discovered the world of coffee. It was so frustrating to see our children abandon their university studies, and change their books for scythes and collection buckets, but I feel lucky because we live far from violence.
I have fallen in love with coffee, and I am so happy to be with my children. It brings me such joy to work together with them to build a better life for ourselves.
We have decided to sell half of our farm so we can pay our debts and begin reinvesting. We are looking for a partner who knows the world of coffee and who shares our dream to produce the best quality. I know my farm has great potential and without the pressure to meet our repayments, we could live a more relaxed life.
But there are other things that motivate me, like working with you. With your support and experience and the way you value my work, I feel I can achieve my dreams. The experience of having you here in my house was one of the nicest moments of my life, and I eagerly await your return, so I can host you with happiness, love, a good piece of smoked steak and a beer. We can have a chat between friends, and I can show you all the effort we’ve invested in improving and producing great coffee.
This is a brief description of my family’s story, where I come from, the situations I’ve endured with my husband, that have shaped my character and my will to go forwards. I shed some tears writing this letter, but I did it with a lot of love for the team at Collaborative Coffee Source.
I want to thank you for your interest in my origins and my dreams. I hope you can visit us again soon.
Colleen will be at Buckman Coffee Factory on Thursday February 22nd at 10am and again at 2pm with a stellar selection of coffees from Colombia and Honduras. Reserve your place now by emailing Colleen.
Join us in Oslo for a fascinating 1-day workshop and discover two innovative CCS partners and their unique approach to producing specialty coffee:
La Palma y El Tucan (LPET), Colombia
Long Miles Coffee Project (LMCP), Burundi
We will be cupping, discussing, sharing and learning with guest speakers Lise Rømo of sister company Kaffa, and Rory Rosenberg of Oslo Cold Brew, two baristas who have competed with these coffees, and visited their farms and washing stations, plus a Skype Q&A with Sebastian Villamizar of La Palma y El Tucan.
10am Cupping coffees from Long Miles Coffee Project
12pm Presentation by Rory Rosenberg of Oslo Cold Brew Rory was the 2017 Norwegian Barista Champion. He competed with LMCP and visited their washing stations in Burundi.
12.30pm Light lunch provided
1pm Cupping La Palma y El Tucan - Neighbors and Crops
2pm Cupping La Palma y El Tucan - Heroes Series
3pm Presentation by Lise Rømo of KAFFA.no Lise was the 2016 Norwegian Barista Champion. She competed with coffee from La Palma y El Tucan, and visited their innovative farm in Cundinamarca, Colombia.
3.30pm Skype Q&A with Sebastian Villamizar of La Palma y El Tucan
4pm Beers and refreshments
Spaces are limited. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve yours!
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 email@example.com to book your place.
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.
“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 firstname.lastname@example.org to book your place.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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,
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