This year’s Cup of Excellence took place in city Neiva, south of Bogota, from 1- 5 of September. I landed there, departing from Bogota with Anviaca Air, it was enough to walk a few meters from airport tarmac to the baggage claim to feel the heat, like lava. Thankfully, Almacafe facilities, where all the cupping sessions were held, were excellent and fully air-conditioned!
Cup of Excellence is one of the most prestigious coffee awards and is given to a special lot for its excellent quality.
Its purpose is to highlight outstanding coffees from special farms in their native countries.
Every single coffee awarded has been tested (on cupping) at least 5 times before winning.
The procedure is fascinating but also hard, it needs a great deal of concentration to rate properly each coffee in the time given by the protocol. The aromas and taste characteristics change quickly, so total focus on every single cup is the key to be fair in evaluation. Knowledge and experience are taken for granted in order to be part of the international jury.
841 samples from the national Colombian produce were sent to be evaluated some week earlier. Only those that were rated with at least 84/100 after continuous evaluation passed to the next level. There are restrictions and a really strict protocol concerning the uniformity of the roasted beans, water temperature, the proportion of coffee and water such as the time of preparation. Only 59 samples passed to the semi- finals.
The international jury evaluated them with the minimum rate of 85/100. The samples that did not gather at least 85, won’t participate in the auction, which will take place on 21st October 2014. Only 28 lots have made it finally.
Through this wonderful procedure I enjoyed more three lots, that I will try to overbid. Exotic taste profiles, they are very different from the usual character of Colombian coffee. You can find mint, eucalyptus, tropical fruits, molasses, black tea, malic acidity and really clear aftertaste, from what I can remember. I am going to wait for the samples and then I will organize an open cupping for the lovers of these unique coffees.