cupping competition

WORLD OF COFFEE SIDESHOWS - LPET Tasters Challenge

LPET Tasters Challenge.jpg

Eight contestants will battle in this triangulation competition, with the extra challenge of identifying La Palma & El Tucán's different fermentation methods. 

The winner will take home an exclusive LPET Heroes Fermentation Pack, with four different green coffees, featuring four fermentation methods from our innovative partners from Cundinamarca, Colombia. 

Don't miss the action, start time 2pm this Friday June 22 at La Cabra's pop up cafe, Qunllijnstraat 80, Amsterdam. 

Plus, we'll be cupping every day at our stand, Booth 30 in the Roasters Village. See our full cupping schedule.  

Meet Dulce Barrera, Quality Control Manager for Bella Vista, Guatemala

Dulce Barrera recently triumphed over twelve other competitors to take the inaugural CCS Colombia Tasters Challenge crown at the SCA. When not killing it in competitions, Dulce is in charge of Quality Control for Zelcafe, our partners in Guatemala. 

It is not surprising that a professional cupper might win a cupping competition against coffee professionals who have to leave the cupping table now and then to run a roaster. What is remarkable is that Dulce has only been cupping for a few years, and in that time she has managed to win the Guatemala Cup Tasters Championship two years in a row. 

But it wasn’t sheer luck that won Dulce these accolades. Nor can her success be put down to natural talent. It was dogged determination and constant practice, as she explains below. 

Meet Dulce Barrera

Dulce Barrera (right) with Melanie Herrerra, both of Bella Vista, Guatemala 

Dulce Barrera (right) with Melanie Herrerra, both of Bella Vista, Guatemala 

I began working with the Zelaya family at the Bella Vista mill on January 4, 2002. We were working with small producers and processing record quantities of cherries. About eight years  after I started, Luis Pedro (Zelaya) began working with micro-lots to meet the demand from our customers. It was my job to prepare the samples for the Quality Control manager, who came the to farm once every week or so with customers. That’s when I discovered coffee cupping, and I wanted to know more. 

Luis Pedro invited all the administrative staff to learn to cup coffee. We worked in a small space that later became the Bella Vista laboratory. Long after everyone else had left I was still there, tasting tasting tasting, learning everything I could. I shadowed the Quality Control manager each time he came to Bella Vista, and I learned how to score coffees. I learned from the customers who came to taste coffees, people like George Howell, Laura Perry, Tal Mor, Tom Owen and others. It was difficult because I don’t speak English, but I watched to see what they liked and didn’t like, and always tasted those coffees once they were done. 

The Bella Vista Quality Control manager retired around three years ago, and I became the cupper for Bella Vista. I was still learning, so if we had major doubts about a coffee we would send a sample for a second opinion, but Luis Pedro had faith in my skills. In May 2016 he entered me into the Guatemala national Cup Tasters Championships. He didn’t tell me until a week before the event! I had no idea how the competition even worked, and I finished in seventh place, just outside the finals selection. 

I competed again in 2017 and I made it to the finals in fourth place. I won the final, the first woman to win the Guatemala Cup Tasters Championship, with seven correctly identified coffees in 5,24 minutes. I went to Budapest to compete in the international competition, and placed 21st. This year I won the Guatemala Cup Tasters Championship again, and I am ready to compete for the international prize in Dubai in November. 

At Bella Vista I work with small producers. I make sure to record all the information about each lot, where the coffee is from, the altitude, the varieties the farmers work with. I manage the Quality Control, and I give a price to the farmers based on the quality of their coffee. 

Guatemala is known for its washed coffees, more so than its honeys or naturals, but these days there is a trend to experiment and buyers want to see more flavor options. My favorite Guatemalan coffees are bourbons from Antigua for their bright and sweet cups with notes of peach, plum and cane sugar, and coffees from Huehuetenango for their tropical fruit notes with pronounced acidity. 

Best wishes and I hope you enjoyed my story.
Dulce

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. 

Name *
Name


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.  

CCS Acevedo Cup 2018 Recap

Acevedo Cup winners and other stellar coffees of the region will be arriving soon! Order your samples by contacting Sal in the US and Nico in Europe.

Jair Caicedo was this year’s winner, a surprise to many at the awards ceremony on Jan 21, as the young farmer is only 26 years old.

The full list of winners

1. Jair Caicedo, Finca Buena Vista

2. Alberto Calderon, Finca La Esmeralda

3. Carlos Calderon, Finca El Porvenir

4. Carmelo Carmelo Blend:
Oscar Ferney Cruz, Finca Jerico
William Arley Cruz, Finca Jerico

Jaimr Useche Gonzalez, Finca La Luna
Dionar Aleis Useche Gonzalez, Finca Los Alpes

5. Blend:
Otoniel Cordoba, Finca El Jardin
Edilson Calderon, Finca El Tesoro

Manuel Calderon, Finca Mira Flores

6. Jhon Wilson Poveda, Finca Danny

7. Jhon Wilson Poveda, Finca Danny

8. Maria Bercelia, Finca Los Angeles

9. Guillermo Rojas, Finca La Falda

10. Blend:
Miller Norberto Bustos, Finca El Mirador
Jamir Usache, Finca La Luna
Diego Bernal, Finca Primavera
Alexander Granada, Finca El Rinconcito
Jose Ignacio Morales, Finca El Guadual

11. Jhon Wilson Poveda, Finca Danny

12. Maria Bercelia, Finca Los Angeles

13. Wilmer Cuellar, Finca Las Brisas

14. Maria Bercelia, Finca Los Angeles

15. Wilmer Cuellar, Finca Las Brisas

16. Mariano Leal, Finca Las Acacias

17. Luis Vargas, Finca Llanitos

18. Maria Bercelia, Finca Los Angeles

19. Carlos Calderon, Finca El Porvenir

20. Jair Caicedo, Finca Buena Vista

Good years and bad years

The overriding theme of this year’s trip to Acevedo is that producing quality is really hard. Sometimes a farmer does everything right and still their coffee doesn’t make it to 86, the benchmark both CCS and Fairfield have set. Why? This season it was the weather. Heavy rains damaged the flowers resulting in lower yields. And those rains, combined with unusually cold weather, caused problems when drying the coffee, resulting in poorer quality.

This is the heartbreaking part of our job. We have a quality benchmark, and there are many good reasons for setting it at 86, but some years that means rejecting coffee from producers we love and dearly want to support. We wish we could buy all their coffee. This year, the best we could do to support them was show up.


The impact of being there

Being present should not to be underestimated, especially in Colombia. Accepting an invitation into a Colombian’s home, allowing them to nourish you, even with just a snack, shows enormous respect for them, and their respect for you. Maribel Claros Castro, wife of Alexander Ordóñez, prepared us a traditional feast called Asado Huilense, meat marinated in bitter orange and cooked on a wood-fired stove. Alexander has had a bad year, thousands of kilos of his coffee were damaged when unusually cold temperatures hit his region while his coffee was drying. But rather than complain about his financial loss, he thanked us profusely for accepting their invitation for lunch. “My wife is an excellent cook,” he explained.

For the producers, the roasters are the real celebrities. Dillon Edwards of Parlor Coffee joined us on this trip to Acevedo and it was his fourth time in the region in two years. He brought gifts for his treasured producers, including roasted coffee in packages bearing the names of their fincas. For many years Colombia offered just one coffee, “Café de Colombia,” so it is a a genuine surprise and delight for these farmers to know their work as a family is presented directly to coffee consumers. 


Bringing producers together

Events like the CCS Acevedo Cup also present a rare opportunity to collaborate. Seldom are so many producers of specialty coffee in one room together, as they were for the CCS Acevedo Cup awards ceremony. The after-party is as important as the awards presentation itself, the farmers use it to discuss, share and advise. 

Special guests at the event this year were Team Tolima! Alejandro Renjifo of Fairfield Trading is a big advocate of regional collaboration, and this year he invited several producers from Planadas to join us on our farm visits and attend the awards ceremony, including Hernando Gomez, Ivan and Jhon Molano, and Astrid Medina. One of the greatest highlights of this trip was seeing Astrid Medina’s reaction to Maria Bercelia’s unique drying facility on her farm, Finca Los Angeles. What a treat it was to listen as these two rock stars of Colombian coffee discussed the finer points of fermentation and drying.

 


What it means to win

Despite the adverse weather, there was great coffee to cup. While this year's event wasn't the marathon of 2016, we still had 37 lots to taste and overall the cupping scores were higher than last year.

What does it mean to place in the Acevedo Cup? In addition to being recognised in the community, winning a place in the top 20 means a significant financial gain. Jair Caicedo will earn 2,200,000 Colombian pesos per carga (125kg of parchment coffee) for his winning lot. To put that price in perspective, the FNC are currently offering around 800,000 pesos per carga. Once yield rates are taken into account, Jair will earn about three times the current purchase price.

We are so grateful to all the farmers who invited us into their homes, offered us meals and refreshments, listened, shared, and gave us their precious time: Javier Pulgarín and Patricia Rodriguez, Luis Vargas and his family, Alexander Ordoñez and Maribel Claros Castro, and Maria Bercelia and Jose Erazo. We are so humbled by your generous hospitality. See you next year.

Acevedo Cup winners and other stellar coffees of the region will be arriving soon! Order your samples by contacting Sal in the US and Nico in Europe.

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

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.

The Acevedo Cup

29181191364_c3d45291e1_z
29181191364_c3d45291e1_z

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