cupping

CCS Colombia Tasters Challenge at the SCA

Win a Trip to the next CCS Acevedo Cup! 

SCA Colombia Cupping Comp Poster.001.jpeg

Join Collaborative Coffee Source and Fairfield Trading at the Café de Colombia booth on Sunday April 22 for this cupping competition of select Colombians from Huila and Tolima. Hosting this special event is Walter Acevedo, roaster at Amor Perfecto and Colombian Cup Taster Champion 2017, who will go on to represent Colombia at the 2018 World Cup Tasters Championship. 

Café de Colombia Booth
SCA Specialty Coffee Expo
Sunday 22 April
10am
 

How the CCS Colombia Tasters Challenge will work:

Before the competition commences, each cupper will taste the four coffees and learn their origins.

Round 1:

There will be four sets of three cups. Two cups in each set will contain the same coffee, the third cup will contain a different coffee. Cuppers must identify the different coffee.  Cuppers have four minutes for this task. The finalists are those who correctly identify the different coffee, in the largest number of sets, in the shortest amount of time. 

Round 2:

Two finalists will go head to head with eight sets of triangulation. 

The winner:

The cupper who can identify the different coffee in all eight sets, and correctly identify the origin of the differing coffee in at least five of the eight sets will be awarded the prize. 

The prize:

Fairfield Trading will provide the winning contestant with return flights to Huila, Colombia, to attend the CCS Acevedo Cup, 2019! 
 

Sign up for the CCS Colombia Tasters Challenge

The ten contestant spaces have already been filled. If you would like to be on a stand by list, in case a contestant has to pull out, please fill in the form below. 

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About the CCS Acevedo Cup

Acevedo is a municipality located in the south-easternmost corner of the Huila department of Colombia, wedged in the fork between the central and eastern cordilleras (mountain ranges) where the Colombian Andes split into three distinct mountain ranges (the western, central and eastern cordilleras). Just beyond the central and eastern cordillera convergence is jungle and thus, moist, cool air. This cool air simulates increased elevation, and creates many different microclimates with diverse humidity, temperature and rainfalls, leading to varying and ideal coffee-growing conditions. 

Our partners, Fairfield Trading, have committed to developing this region. They have a buying station in Acevedo town, and their professional and dedicated team have developed strong working relationships with producers in the region, advising on agronomic and processing improvements, lifting the cup quality considerably. 

The first CCS Acevedo Cup was held in December 2016, and the second in January 2018. The intention is to hold an annual event, but of course, we must schedule the competition according to the coffee harvest, which was a little later this time around.

The impact of these events should not be underestimated. The recognition and financial reward that comes with placing in the top 20 coffees in this competition is a great incentive to invest the time, energy and money required to produce specialty coffee. The financial reward also allows farmers to invest in infrastructure and plantings that further improve their cup quality. And, above all, events like these bring a community together, which creates an opportunity for collaboration. The Acevedo coffee producing community is particularly strong, with leaders like Ciro Lugo, whose gentle guidance and experience has lifted many farmers into the specialty market.  

The top twenty lots from the CCS Acevedo Cup 2018 are already in Europe, and arriving soon in the US. To discover these varied and delicious coffees for yourself, see our Colombia offers list and order your samples. 

 

The coffees

Get a head start in the competition. Read all about the coffees we'll present for the CCS Colombia Tasters Challenge. Full farmer information sheets can be downloaded from this Dropbox folder

Astrid Medina with Eduardo Urquina (left) and Alejandro Renjifo of Fairfield Trading, and Robert W Thoresen of CCS. 

Astrid Medina with Eduardo Urquina (left) and Alejandro Renjifo of Fairfield Trading, and Robert W Thoresen of CCS. 

Astrid Medina, Planadas, Tolima

We are in awe of Doña Astrid, both as a producer and as a person. Growing up in a part of Colombia that was one of the worst affected by the country's internal conflict, Astrid suffered, like most of her friends, family and neighbors. But Astrid found purpose in coffee and family. Her dedication to her finca and her coffee inspires us. 

Download the Astrid Medina Farmer Information Sheet.

 

 

 

 

 

Jair Caicedo, winner of the CCS Acevedo Cup 2018

Jair Caicedo, winner of the CCS Acevedo Cup 2018

Jair Caicedo, acevedo, Huila 

Jair was the winner of the CCS Acevedo Cup 2018. The announcement of his name elicited a gasp from the audience, as the young producer is only 26! We are obviously watching this producer very closely.

Download the Jair Caicedo Farmer Information Sheet

Julio Olaya, Ibague, Tolima

Julio is a second generation coffee producer who inherited his lot of land from his parents. He was inspired to work towards producing specialty coffee when his neighbor, José Arangel Rodriguez, won a specialty competition organized by the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC). Realizing the potential for the region, Julio and his wife Yanet Rincón requested training in cultivating, collecting and processing for quality, and sold their first specialty lot to Fairfield Trading in 2017. 

Download the Julio Olaya Farmer Information Sheet

 

Julio Olaya, a new entrant to the specialty market. 

Julio Olaya, a new entrant to the specialty market. 

Maria Bercelia on her farm, Los Angeles

Maria Bercelia on her farm, Los Angeles

Maria Bercelia, Acevedo, Huila

Another rock star of specialty coffee, Maria and her family stand apart from most coffee producers, possibly because they are all first generation farmers. Previously the family ran a hardware store in a part of Colombia badly affected by the internal conflict. For their safety, and to build a more stable financial future, Maria and her husband Jose Erazo purchased a plot of land in Acevedo, and the entire family began cultivating coffee. Maria's farm, Los Angeles, has a set up unlike any other.  Without generations of knowledge and tradition, the family approach each challenge with a fresh perspective, a difference that can be tasted in the cup.  

Download the Maria Bercelia Farmer Information Sheet.  

Ethiopia Update - 2nd Origin Trip, 2017 / 2018 Crop

Muluka, sorting natural coffees at Gidhe A Washing Station, Ethiopia

Muluka, sorting natural coffees at Gidhe A Washing Station, Ethiopia

CCS was in Ethiopia for the second time this harvest season from January 7 to 14. Roasters from all over the globe joined us as we travelled from Addis Ababa to Yirgacheffe and Sidamo in the south of the country, visiting long-time partners and new friends. 

Our goal in the south of the country was to visit washing stations that are new for CCS, to get a sense of the people there and the way they work, as well as cupping their coffees. Next to Robert and I, in the vans travelling the bumpy roads of Southern Ethiopia, sat Mike from Blueprint in the US, Glen and Stanley from Green Coffee Gallery in Taiwan, Echo, Qili and Van, from Coffee Voice in China, Thomas, from Belleville Brûlerie in France and Erik, from Kaffa in Norway. We were accompanied by Abenezer from SNAP, an exporter and new partner we will work with this season and into the future.
 

Coffea Arabica at the source

When buying your green coffee or sipping your freshly brewed cup, you may have wondered, what is an Ethiopia Heirloom? Well, I have at least a partial answer to that: when stepping on the black and fertile soils in the Guji Highland Estate you cannot find two trees alike. Walking randomly in the farm we passed by a beautiful specimen of unknown variety with orange, almost pink cherries. Even Robert, who has travelled to Ethiopia at least twice each season for the last 12 years, had never seen a tree like this! As the birthplace of coffee, the genetic variety in Ethiopia is breath taking, and something we are only beginning to understand. 

I have spent some time at origin in Latin America, but this was my first trip to Africa. What struck me immediately was how perfectly suited Ethiopia is to growing coffee, at least on the southern regions we visited. The weather was dry during our trip, with temperate days and cool evenings. Spectacular forests provide protective shade for the coffee trees which allow the cherries to grow and ripen slowly, enriching their pulp with sweetness. Again, this is no surprise given Ethiopia is the home of the coffee tree, still it is an experience to see it in person. 
 

The complications of logistics

In Perú and Ecuador, where I worked for a few months with cooperatives and producers, we often spoke about the terroir, the weather, and the processing methods as the components of specialty coffee quality. The one part that is usually the forgotten is logistics. The complexity in Peru surprised me, some farms are only accessible by motorcycle over bumpy and muddy tracks. How do we reach those small producers in the most isolated reaches of the mountains? How do we maintain traceability?

The issue of logistics is even more complicated in Ethiopia. First, Ethiopia is HUGE. We spent four days of long travel to reach different washing stations and farms in the south. And yet, seeing how tiny that region is on the large map of Ethiopia, I realised how crazy it is to work in a lot of different regions in the country. Distances are not that great, but the roads are extremely bumpy! Just moving from the north of Yirgacheffe to the south took us a full day in a car! 

At the same time, I felt privileged to see an Ethiopia that will soon be history. The country boasted an annual economic growth of 10,8% on average between 2004-2014, and its population is expected to grow from 100 million people today, to 190 million by 2050! That’s almost double! Huge infrastructure projects are underway to connect all parts of Ethiopia, and more specifically to link remote areas of beautiful coffees to the existing main roads leading to Addis. If you want to experience the Ethiopian “adventure,” go there soon guys! 

We returned to Addis on the weekend for many cuppings, and to visit Heleanna of Moplaco. Their warehouse and mill are astonishing! In another life I worked for luxury cosmetic brands and visited the French factories of Chanel and Dior. It is astounding to see a production facility for coffee in Ethiopia just as clean and perfectly organized as the production line of the fanciest perfumes from Paris. No wonder the coffees we get through Heleanna are always stellars.

The highlight of this trip was meeting the people behind these incredible coffees, all of them with the biggest smiles. Each time I lifted my camera to my eye to capture the sorting process, or the natural coffees drying on their beds, I saw producers and partners with phones in hand, taking photos of me. 

Matt is finalizing our buys in Ethiopia, and the fresh crop should be on the boat by end of March. Contact me in Europe or Sal in the US to get your hands of some samples. 

Nicolas