Honduras’s José Enamorado Wins Top Honour at 2nd Ernesto Illy International Coffee Award

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 16: Anna Illy and Andrea Illy, Chairman of illycaff present awards at the Ernesto Illy International Coffee Award gala at the New York Public Library on Monday, October 16, 2017 the Ernesto Illy International Coffee Award gala at the New York Public Library on October 16, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images for illy caffe)

After rounds of blind tastings at the United Nations by an international independent jury of top culinary and coffee experts, illycaffè announced that coffee beans grown by Honduras’s José Abelardo Díaz Enamorado were designated “Best of the Best” at the 2017 Ernesto Illy International Coffee Award. The top-scoring coffee lot was named from among 27 of the world’s best lots from the 2016-17 harvests in nine countries, at a gala in New York City attended by representatives of each grower and delegates from each nation. Illy is making each of the nine finalists’ beans available for purchase as a single origin next year at select illy Caffè locations.

Alongside Honduras, coffee lots from Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Guatemala, India, Nicaragua, and Rwanda were chosen to compete, following intensive analysis at illy’s Quality Lab at its Trieste, Italy headquarters. All nine finalists will comprise the illy blend, known for decades for its unparalleled richness, complexity and consistency.

In 1966, Díaz Enamorado and his wife, Daysi Clemencia Reyes, began planting coffee in the village of El Chimizal, with an initial area of 3.5 acres, in the region of Antique.

“It is an honour and a pleasure to recognize Mr. Díaz Enamorado for his achievement, and that of all of our finalists, which is nothing less than producing the highest-quality coffee in the world through sustainable methods,'” says Andrea Illy, chairman of illycaffè.

The Ernesto Lilly International Coffee Award, named for illy’s visionary, second-generation leader, recognizes excellence in raising coffee of the highest quality through sustainable means. The award celebrates his company’s hand-in-hand work with farmers to realize its dream of offering the best coffee to the world.

The Award is rooted in a program that illy established nearly three decades ago in Brazil, originally called Premio de Qualidade do Cafè para Espresso, that drove illy’s transformation to a company that today purchases nearly 100 percent of its coffee beans directly from producers able to meet its exacting quality standards, at a guaranteed premium over market prices averaging 30 percent. Today, illy is one of the world’s major purchasers of top-quality Arabica coffee directly from producers.

The “Best of the Best” coffee was judged on criteria including aromatic richness/complexity, balance/elegance and aroma intensity/strength. This year’s panel of culinary and coffee experts from around the world included:

  • Mark Pendergrast (Jury Chair): A best-selling American author, Pendergrast is known for his books such as Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How it Transformed Our World.
  • Caterina Ceraudo: Ceraudo is the chef behind Michelin Star-holder restaurant Dattilo, located on her family’s biodynamic farm in Calabria, Italy.
  • Pino Cuttaia: Cuttaia is the celebrated chef at the helm of the Michelin two-Starred La Madia, a Sicilian-based cuisine restaurant in Licata, Italy.
  • Kerri Goodman: Founder and publisher of CoffeeTalk magazine, Goodman has more than 20 years of experience in the coffee industry.
  • Richard Martin: Martin serves as editorial director of Food Republic, which he launched in 2011 and now reaches millions of food lovers every month.
  • Denise Mazzei: Mazzei is an assistant professor of business management at the Culinary Institute of America, and an alum of the school herself.
  • Josimar Melo: A food and wine journalist for leading Brazilian newspaper Folha de S. Paulo, Melo publishes a widely anticipated annual guide to cuisine in São Paulo.
  • Fernando Arturo Osorio Rodriguez: Director of Quality at Colombia’s Almacafe SA – FNC, and an appointee to the Colombian National Coffee Grower’s Federation, Rodriguez is an expert in coffee’s numerous physical and sensorial properties.
  • Ansha Yassin Suileman: Ethiopia-based Suileman is the managing director for CO QUA trading plc. She is a coffee expert in every aspect, specializing in coffee quality inspection.

Illy brought representatives of all 27 finalists to New York City for the 16 October proceedings at the United Nations, followed by a gala at the New York Public Library to honour the extraordinary achievements of all growers. In addition to “Best of the Best,” a “Coffee Lovers Choice” award, sponsored by illy partner United Airlines, determined by blind consumer tastings, was awarded to Juan Carlos Alvarez from Costa Rica. Katie Lee, renowned chef, cookbook author and co-host of Food Network’s “The Kitchen,” served as the gala’s emcee.

Illycaffè is an Italian family business, founded in Trieste in 1933. IT is the world’s most global coffee brand, producing the unique illy 100% Arabica blend made of nine of the world ‘s best selections of Arabica. With the bestowing of the first “Ernesto Illy Award for quality espresso coffee” in 1991 in Brazil, illy also pioneered direct sourcing, sharing know-how and paying a premium price for the best quality, based on partnerships underwritten by the principles of sustainable development. The company also founded the University of Coffee with the aim of fostering and spreading its culture, providing comprehensive academic and hands-on training for coffee growers, baristas and coffee lovers in order to cover every aspect of the product. There are approximately 230 stores and mono-brand illy shops in 43 countries.

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