We had a good run at the Cup of Excellence auctions in the second half of this year. With the Rwanda, Burundi and Colombia cuppings and subsequent auctions down, we still have one to go: the Brazil pulped natural early harvest program. We cupped the selections from Rwanda and Burundi in our office at the end of September and at the start of this month, together with a couple of new faces and the usual suspects. The Rwanda auction fetched pretty good prices, with the number one lot receiving a $37.10/lb bid for 22 boxes. The lowest bid was still at $5.10/lb. We didn’t participate in the auction, which meant we could save up forces for the Burundi bidding a week later.

[h5]Potato free?[/h5]

In the Burundi cupping we did find quite some standout lots, and we were hungry for the excitement that the live auction brings. We selected our favourites in the 32cup office together with some coffee friends, while joyfully concluding we didn’t get a single potato cup! Manoeuvring through a number of acidic bombs on the table, we selected six favourite lots, of which we were able to lay hands on one. Twenty four boxes of lot 11 from Webcor’s Nemba washing station in Kayanza, with a score of 85.94, will soon set for Antwerp! In the cupping, we were immediately taken on by the coffee’s distinctive dry aroma, which translated beautifully in a fruity and juicy sweet cup. The complex and refined acidity wasn’t too overpowering, but enough so to make for a pure and bright cup with notes of blackberries and raspberries. Also noteworthy is the enormous premium the number one lot by the Mpanga farm fetched – $59.10/lb bid for 19 boxes!!!

[h5]Spices, fruits and other yumminess[/h5]

In between the Rwanda and Burundi cuppings, we went on a trip to Colombia with a couple of roasters from Belgium and the Netherlands. The Colombia Cup of Excellence cupping a week later really carried extra meaning! During the trip we visited farms in Huila and Antioquia, so now we could envision something when cupping the coffees from those regions. With 34 lots, we were down for yet another huge cupping. We made way to Amsterdam to cup them at Lot 61‘s bar together with no less than 13 other cuppers! The Dutch do really like slurping coffee – and we like them doing so!
Besides being somewhat synonymous with the taste of good commercial grade coffees, in recent years Colombia has really been making a name for itself as a specialty coffee origin as well. Since the country is a patchwork of microclimates, it can offer an impressive range of unique, sometimes peculiar and impressive tastes, which was nicely illustrated in this cupping. In general, really a lot of coffees had a sugary sweetness going on, often complemented by tropical fruits, berries and/or spices. Yet, we managed to all somewhat agree on which of all these fascinating coffees were the best – to us Lowlanders at least. Seven out of 34 lots received five votes or more – even up to ten votes! With seven options, stakes were pretty good we could at least add one lot to our books. In the auction it quickly became clear a couple of bidders shared our taste. Yet, we persevered, and after almost four hours of bidding we managed to procure no less than two lots!
Thank you all for showing up, it’s really rewarding to us to have such a turn-up for a cupping.

[h5]Soon in Antwerp[/h5]

So in the end the Cup of Excellence number 10 lot from San Blas in El Salvador will be followed up by three lots: Burundi’s lot 11 by Webcor Nemba washing station and by lots 12a and 21 from the Colombia program. Lot 12a, with an SCAA score of 86.84, was grown by Maria Elena Garces Posada on her Verdum farm in Antioquia. We loved its rich Kenya-like profile of juicy berries, crisp lime acidity and creamy mouthfeel. Meet María Elena in this youtube video! Lot 21 really was a standout for us in the cupping, receiving seven favourite votes with accolades for its sweet and sour dynamism and its delicate rosehip notes on a forest fruit bed. The firm body with a silky sensation really supported this complex cup. Quite the coffee! Congrats to Emilio Bastidas Yeda and his El Cucho farm in Samañiego, Nariño. Needless to say we’re eagerly looking forward to landing these three coffees in Antwerp! Check the Alliance for Coffee Excellence website for all results

We’re expecting the Colombian lots in the first half of December, together with a couple of other microlots. The Burundian lot will arrive around the turn of the year. Keep an eye on our offer lists for arrival dates!
Thanks again to everyone who showed up for cupping with us. Thanks also to the guys at Lot61 for opening up their bar space to us! It sure was cozy.

Next up: the festive 100th Cup of Excellence auction with the Brazil pulped natural early harvest program with auction on the 26th of November. Not to be a spoiler – the number one lot was scored 94.05, the number two 93.36 and number three 92.26. Surely you wouldn’t want to miss that.

See you soon; and we love the way you slurp!

Busy cupping at Lot61's bar

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Sofie Nys Sofie Nys

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