Sascha and Patty will visit the Cup of Excellence in Costa Rica in early May and cup some of the best coffees in the country! And of course you will tell us about it! But what is that actually, the "Cup of Excellence"?
The highest award for Specialty Coffee
In the coffee world, the Cup of Excellence is the highest honor a coffee can receive. It is held annually in the coffee-growing countries of Africa, South and Central America. The aim of the Cup of Excellence is to determine the best coffees in the country. These coffees are then allowed to carry a seal until the next Cup of Excellence. This seal is used to recognize the best beans of the season when they are purchased. But before a coffee is allowed to carry this seal, it must convince many people of its uniqueness. The number of coffees submitted each year is between 100 and 900, depending on the size of the country. Accordingly, Brazil has more submissions than a small country like Rwanda. To be able to make a pre-selection, you need patience and a keen sense of taste, because only the best beans are supposed to make it to the second round in the end.
Preselection in the Cup of Excellence
For the pre-selection of the coffees, a national jury is appointed to determine the best of the submitted coffee samples. It consists of staff from the national coffee organizations, exporters and Q graders. The coffees submitted will be cupped by the jury over five cups. That is, five infusions of each coffee are placed side by side and each is tested. In this way, one can be sure to be able to exclude any roasting defects.
During the pre-selection process, the jury focuses on the search for flavor uniqueness and evaluates a coffee's aromas, taste, sweetness and acidity, body and the balance between the individual components. In the end, about 60 coffees remain to meet an international jury made up of the world's most influential roasters, coffee buyers and sellers. Now, you might think that the size of the company is the deciding factor, but it's not! The only thing that matters is the quality of the coffees they offer. The ACE, the Alliance for Coffee Excellence, is responsible for the jury's position.
In the second round, all coffees are tasted blind. This means that the jury has no information about the coffee samples - no finca name, no preparation method, no variety. Only the taste counts. While they are tasting, the points awarded are compiled by an independent taster, who announces them. Coffees with more than 84 points move on to the next round.
Maximum number of points in the Cup Of Excellence: 100
For orientation: the highest score is 100, but even we have never given 100 points to any coffee. All coffees that have achieved more than 84 points are then tasted and evaluated again. Usually there are between 20 and about 30 coffees. The members of the ACE "Alliance for Coffee Excellence" can then bid on these coffees in a worldwide online auction. The Tres Cabezas has been a member for several years and so we can get these excellent beans of the Cup of Excellence auctions into our house.
Last year we roasted and offered Cup of Excellence winners from Rwanda and Burundi, and just last week we were able to secure Lot#13 at the Cup Of Excellence auction in Colombia. We look forward to what Patty and Sascha will tell us. Maybe they will also bring us a few kilos of Costa Rica's best beans to Berlin.