Vicosa, Brazil, Dec. 3.
We are here in Vicosa participating in the international judging
of this year's Cup of Excellence competition. As you may know, COE
seeks to find and reward the best coffee producers in a given region
of the world. This is the 8th such COE competition in Brazil where
it all began. While coffee is grown in many parts of Brazil, the
town of Vicosa is located in the heart of the state of Minas Gerais,
the region producing some of the best coffee. Judges have arrived
from around the globe with some representation from the US in addition
to from Japan, Norway, Finland, Holland, Australia.
Growers who wish to participate in the competition submit their
best lots of coffee and usually this represents only small quantities
of beans that were given special care in growing, processing and
varietal selection. Of nearly 350 coffees originally entered by
growers, now only 54 remain at the start of the international and
final round of judging, a process that lasts all week. Preceding
us were Brazilian national judges who, after much tasting, organized
the finals segment of the process.
Dec. 8, 2006
The competition concluded today and this evening was the well attended
awards ceremony. Growers whose coffees made their way into the top
54 were invited to attend and an amazing 51 of them showed up, some
traveling many hours to get there. This is a tribute to their emotional
investment in the competition process. The top coffee this year
is Fazenda Esperanca produced by Cicero Viegas Cavalcanti
de Albuqueque from his farm in the Sul de Minas region. His coffee
placed 6th overall last year and he is a multiple recipient of the
Presidents Club award, testifying to the consistent excellence
of his coffee.
All week long we, as cuppers and international judges, have known
these coffees simply as numbers, everything being properly de-identified.
Like everyone else, we found out the growers names during the awards
ceremony. While farmers from all over Brazil are able to enter coffee
in the competition, five of the top six coffees were from the state
of Minas Gerais. I must say that the top half dozen coffees were
exemplary and each had its fans. It is notable too that an abundance
of the top coffees were grown from heirloom Bourbon varietal.
Congratulations to the winners of this years COE competition.
The top 29 coffees will be auctioned on Jan. 16th and no doubt there
will be great interest for them. You may recall that last year's
top coffee set a world record $49.50 per pound! Overall, the quality
of Brazils coffee is on the rise, and farmers are no longer
content to have their effort simply be associated with canned coffee
or espresso. These are some great coffees.
B & B