Cooperativa Cocabel wins the 5th Annual Ernesto Illy International Coffee Award

illycaffè announced the winner of the 2020 Ernesto Illy International Coffee Award (EIICA), which the company bestows on the best producer of sustainable coffee, in a virtual ceremony on 3 December.

The winner is Honduras’s Cooperativa Cocabel, winning in both categories: Best of the Best and Coffee Lover’s Choice, after a series of blind tastings by two independent juries. The Best of the Best jury is comprised of experts and the Coffee Lover’s Choice is comprised of consumers.

Cocabel is a cooperative with about one-hundred partners located in the municipality of Belen in the department of Lempira in southwestern Honduras. The partners deliver coffee cherries to the cooperative, which then removes the pulps, rinses them, and dries them out in the sun on the patio. Cocabel works closely with BICAFE, a company that runs a coffee warehouse and dry mill near Santa Rosa de Copan and selects high-quality batches of coffee.

Every year, illycaffè’s quality lab selects the best batches of coffee based on quality and sustainability parameters. The countries that stood out during the 2019/2020 harvest were Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Nicaragua, and Rwanda. The best three producers from each country made it to the final round of the 2020 EIICA, where each national winner became one of nine finalists in the international competition.

An independent panel of international experts, chefs, and food critics conducted a blind tasting of the nine finalists, sampling various preparations – espresso, moka, drip, and filter coffee – and chose a winner on the basis of the richness and complexity of the bouquet, the elegance and balance of flavours, and the intensity of the aroma.

“This time the panel of experts and the consumers agreed with the former qualitative analysis showing it matched consumers’ taste. This is a well-deserved recognition of the extraordinary work carried out day by day with great dedication by men and women from the Cocabel cooperative,” said Andrea Illy, chairman of Trieste, Italy-based illycaffè. The Cocabel cooperative managed to draw together small coffee growers united by the awareness that sustainable quality beings with the plant. With the Ernesto Illy International Coffee Award we aim to emphasise the importance of the care that growers put into their plantation, whether large or small, because it is the starting point for a virtuous circle that ends with the cup of coffee being savoured by its final consumer.”

The Ernesto Illy International Coffee Award ceremony, now at its fifth edition and named after the son of illycaffè’s founder, is a way to celebrate and reward illy’s best growers for the attention to sustainable quality they bring to their work every day, and to renew the company’s commitment to improve the lives of producers and bring to life the dream of offering the best coffee to the world. The event, held virtually this year, was hosted by Arizona Muse, a fashion model famous for her environmental commitment and, more generally, for her activism in the field of sustainability.

The EIICA ceremony is typically held in New York City in mid-October but was postponed and held virtually due to the pandemic.

The 27 finalists for the 2020 EIICA were:

1 Fazenda Sequoia Minas
2 Haroldo Barcelos Veloso
3 Raimundo Dimas Santana Filho

1 Ascafé – Spirit of Peace Ex Combatants
2 Cooperativa de Caficultores del Norte de Nariño
3 Coocentral – Cooperativa Central de Caficultores del Huila

Costa Rica:
1 Coopeatenas R.L.
2 CoopeSabalito R.L.
3 Marespi S.A.

1 Legesse Sherefa Pvt Ltd Company
2 Asma International Business Pvt Ltd Company
3 Bechu International Trading Pvt Ltd Company

1 Finca El Consuelo
2 Finca La Providencia
3 Finca Peña Blanca

1 Cooperativa Cocabel
2 Finca El Potrero
3 Cooperativa Cafetalera San Francisco Cones Limitada – Cocasancol

1 Rosewood Estate
2 Pura Estate
3 Keserki Estate

1 Proyecto LIFT
2 Finca Buenos Aires
3 San Ramón Estate

1 Nyamyumba Coffee Washing Station
2 Nzahaha Coffee Washing Station
3 Ngamba Coffee Washing Station

The ceremony can be viewed at:

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