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Coffee and Tea Reports from the Front Lines

Fifth Brazil Cup of Excellence Awards Held

Brazil - One of the most fashionable shopping centers in the city of São Paulo was the fitting venue for the fifth edition of the Cup of Excellence awards for producers of gourmet quality Brazilian coffee.

The 43 award winners were announced at a recent ceremony that was jointly organized by the Alliance for Coffee Excellence Inc. (ACE) and the Brazilian Specialty Coffee Association (BSCA), who used the occasion to coincide with the second annual meeting of their members.

Farmers submitted a record number of 974 samples for classification and qualification. A panel of 32 national jurors screened the number down to 63 lots. The selected coffees were then examined by a panel of 32 jurors from 12 countries including three from Brazil. The jurors classified 43 lots with the minimum number of points to qualify for the internet auction. By producing state, the winners were: 31 from Minas Gerais, seven from São Paulo, three from Espirito Santo, one from Bahia for the first time, one from Rio de Janeiro (which historically has been known as the origin of the more inferior Brazilian coffee). This is more proof that the program is achieving the objectives of the ICO.

All participants in the competition were invited to the award winning ceremony in São Paulo, and a special gold cup award was also presented to eight farmers whose coffees classified with an average of over 90 points in the final testings.

The winning top price for the coffees selected for the December 9th Electronic Auction of the 5th Brazil Cup of Excellence awards reached US$1,342.60 per bag of 60 kilos. Farmer Carlos Sergio Sanglard received this value bought by a Japanese importer for the lot of 39 bags produced on his fazenda in Arapongas, Minas Gerais. The 43 lots auctioned totaled 1.272 bags and brought an average price of US$396.94 per bag about 560% above going market levels. Buyers were principally importers from Japan but also included buyers from the U.S.A, Canada, U.K., Germany, Norway and Greece

The BSCA used the occasion of the Cup of Excellence event to hold their second annual meeting. The BSCA was founded in 1991 by 14 specialty coffee growers who, after visiting a SCAA Convention in the USA, envisioned a similar organization in Brazil to promote the production and marketing of specialty coffees. The BSCA today is composed of 50 associates from all the principal producing states and exports have grown from one container in 1991 to over 300 thousand bags in 2002.

The second meeting of the BSCA was presided over by Marcelo Vieira, president of the BSCA, who is known as an instrumental factor in promoting the specialty coffee movement in Brazil. The meeting included a mini-seminar on relevant subjects of interest to their members such as: incentives to sustainability, how to participate in international markets, and espresso consumption in Brazill.

Although recent and present market conditions do not offer any reason for farmers to “shout for joy”, the prevailing atmosphere in the Cup of Excellence awards and BSCA second meeting was one of optimism and faith in the future, with participants looking for bigger and better happenings in 2004. - Harry C. Jones

Nicaragua Cup of Excellence Statistics

Nicaragua - Recently, two of the lead organizations that brought the Cup of Excellence tasting competition to Nicaragua in 2002 and 2003 issued the results of a study they conducted of the 385 coffee growers who participated in the 2003 Cup. The initiative by TechnoServe and the Specialty Coffee Association of Nicaragua (Asociación de Cafes Especiales de Nicaragua - ACEN) looked at a variety of factors in comparing the 2003 Cup winners to the rest of the Cup participants and to Nicaragua coffee producers overall.

The “Secrets to Success” study, released at a conference in Managua, reveals the following: Most of the winners of the Cup of Excellence 2003 are from the departments of Jinotega (43%) and Nueva Segovia (33%); 92% of the winning farms are at an altitude of at least 1,000 meters (only 21% of Nicaragua’s total coffee production is grown at this altitude); All of the winning farms receive between 1,000 and 1,600 millimeters of rain/year; 100% of the winners have access to their own source of clean water, compared to 70% of non-winners; 95% of the winners have de-pulping machines that are in good condition, compared to 50% of non-winners; The winners ferment their coffee for much longer than non-winners. 90% of winners ferment for 24 to 36 hours, compared to 30% of non-winners.

The study confirms that excellent coffees come from zones with specific agro-climatic conditions. It also shows, however, that the right agro-climatic conditions are not enough. To produce excellent coffees, producers need to be meticulous in their attention to detail, especially during post-harvest processing of their coffee.

“The Cup of Excellence has captured the attention of many coffee producers in Nicaragua, particularly at a time when world market prices are so low that many growers don’t receive prices high enough to cover their costs of production,” said Ernest van Panhuys, TechnoServe’s country director in Nicaragua. “Many growers are asking us what conditions they need and what methods they should employ to produce a coffee of excellent quality. And in order to answer their questions, we carried out this study to determine the key factors that contributed to the success of the 2003 Cup winners.”

2nd São Paulo Coffee Quality Awards Held

Brazil - The 2nd São Paulo Coffee Quality Awards promoted by the São Paulo Coffee Roasters Union (SINDICAFE), the State Secretary of Agriculture and the Santos Commercial Association was held late November at the Brazilian Coffee Museum located in the building of the Santos Coffee Exchange. The promotion was also sponsored by the Brazilian Coffee Industry Association (ABIC), the Paulista Supermarket Association (APAS) and was coordinated by Eduardo Carvalhaes Jr. of the Santos coffee firm, Escritório Carvalhaes.

This year, samples of 530 lots of 30 bags each were submitted for the contest at 9 regional locations across the State and organized by the local Cooperatives and Rural Producer Unions. A group of 7 Arbiters, all fully qualified trade classifiers, after a series of gradings and blind tests, approved 59 lots for a final examination. The jury, after further tests, selected 10 lots consisting according to the regulations, of 5 natural coffees and 5 peeled cherry coffees, to be presented for a buyers auction.

The 10 winning coffees will be commercialized by the buyers in conjunction with the Sao Paulo Supermarket Association in a special promotion early in the new year. The coffees will have a seal stating, “Special Edition of the Best State of Sao Paulo Coffees 2003 Crop” and will include publicity promotions and prominent shelf space in cooperating supermarkets. Submitted bids will average R$540.20 for the 5 lots of natural coffees and R$523.40 for the peeled cherry coffees.

The highest bid was made by the growing roasting firm, Café Damasco from Curitiba, Parana at the surprising price of R$1.203.50 per bag (about US$415.00) almost seven times the going market value. The producer was Esmerino do Vale who received the special Aldir Alves Teixeira Award for the best 2003/04 crop quality prepared for the 2nd State of São Paulo Coffee Quality Contest. His farm is located in the Mogiana region of São Paulo.

It is expected the coffees will be priced about R$22 per kilo (about US$7.50), well above regular quality coffees.

The Secretary of Agriculture, Duarte Nogueira, in his closing address commented on the success of this years contest and believed, along with the other sponsors, that the objectives of the promotion are being fully achieved to provide growers with incentives to prepare better quality coffees and consumers to appreciate and differentiate coffee qualities and values. - Harry C. Jones



Tea & Coffee - January/February, 2004
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