The Costa Rica News (TCRN) – A total of 70 samples of coffee from all over the country are being tasted this week by national judges to determine which of them will advance in the final stage of the Cup of Excellence competition.

Noelia Villalobos, executive director of the Specialty Coffee Association of Costa Rica, said the competition aims to identify the best coffees produced in Costa Rica and to boost domestic producers in foreign markets.

But what is the process? This week, a panel of Costa Rican tasters are responsible for giving a score to each of these samples. Only those who obtain more than 85 points will continue in the process.

Villalobos explained that approximately 25 coffees are tasted daily and aspects like the aroma (of beans and with water), acidity and taste are some of the items evaluated by experts who determine the continuity of the bean.

Behind closed doors

If a sample exceeds the minimum score (85), it will face the final stage of the Cup, where 27 international judges will be in charge, again, to confer a score to the coffees.

This takes place during the week of May 12, at the Wyndham Hotel in Herradura.

The judges come from countries like Japan, USA, Australia, Korea, China, Germany and Holland.

This time, sample finalists are selected and will participate in the international Cup of Excellence Auction of 2014, to be held on June 24.

“From experience we can say that on average 20 to 25 caffees reach the international auction, where some are better qualified than others but always exceed 85 points,” said the director.

International exhibition

According to Villalobos, once coffees, which pass the end, are selected, it comes to sending those samples to more than 180 companies worldwide.

The sample is sent to potential buyers of coffee to all Europe and China, for example, so they can decide whether or not to bid for the bean in the auction.

“The cup is not only the auction, as the producer gets to place his lot at a price of 10 or 15 times greater than what you could sell it normally. This opens the opportunity that their coffee is known beyond our borders and one can do business, “he affirmed.

Thus, the aim of the competition is to promote the Costa Rican bean and direct trade relations between sellers and buyers.

“If they (the producers) do a promotion just like this, it would be a fortune. The ones that reach the final, can get direct business relationships with buyers and can settle the purchase of entire crops”, he concluded.

In the edition of 2013, the lot was from the Fidel coffee farm, processed by the benefit of Olymar Santa Lucia III and located in Lourdes of Cirrí, Canton Naranjo. It was one of the samples that reached the final and best quote at the auction.

The Fidel farm achieved a selling of $3,010 a quintal (46 kilos) of its coffee.

The Cup of Excellence is a competition of the Alliance for Coffee Excellence (ACE) and has the support and supervision of Icafé and Fine Coffees Association in Costa Rica.

The Costa Rica News (TCRN)

San Jose, Costa Rica