I’ve been at the Let’s Talk Coffee annual event in Panama over the last few days, and this last Thursday night presented awards to roasters for best retail-roasted presentation of coffees sold (as green coffee) by Sustainable Harvest, a long-established specialty green coffee importer whose business model is built around building sustainability throughout the coffee supply chain. Coffee Review was asked to provide the judging for these retail-roasted coffees, and I presented the winners in person at the lively awards ceremony. The main event of the HarVee awards ceremony is presentation of prizes to coffee growers, mostly cooperatives, whose coffees are imported by Sustainable Harvest, and are recognized (as green coffees) in several categories, including Excellence, Consistency, Improvement and best coffee estate. The response of the winners was very moving; this has been an unimaginably hard year for Central and South-American producers owing to the catastrophic leaf rust epidemic, and the gravity of this challenge seemed to make the succinct and very dignified acceptance speeches of the producers particularly moving.
Returning to the roaster awards, I’m most familiar with delivering information-based presentations to daytime audiences of folks wired on coffee, so delivering a more entertainment-based presentation to a nighttime audience of five hundred people who had just eaten dinner and may also have consumed significant quantities of fine alcoholic beverages constituted a new challenge for me. I hope I met it; everyone seemed engaged in the coffee descriptions and reassuringly produced laughter in response to my occasional joke. But the most engaging element of the presentations for me was the unpretentious openness and charm of the prize-winning roasters in accepting their awards and the enthusiastic and heart-felt appreciation they expressed for the work of the specific growers who produced the winning coffees, many of whom were present in the audience.
Three awards – first, second, third – were presented for coffees from the South America region and three for the Central America/Mexico region. A fourth place award was added for coffees from East Africa. Counting ties, thirteen awards were given. Here are the results in list format.
Detailed reviews of all thirteen of these outstanding coffees, comments on the interesting issues they raise, and some account of the Let’s Talk Coffee event itself will appear in a few days on Coffee Review, around October 17.
HarVee 2014 Roaster Awards for Coffees from South America
First place: Blue Bottle Coffee – Colombia Granja Esperanza Gesha AAA – 95 points
Second place: Portland Roasting – Los Guardianes Peru FTO – 88 points
Third place: DCR Coffee (Dillanos Coffee Roasters) – Honey Margarita Colombia – 87 points
HarVee 2014 Roaster Awards for Coffees from East Africa
First place: Blue Bottle Coffee – Ethiopia Homacho Waeno Aleto Wondo Sidama, Ethiopia – 95 points
Second place: Allegro Coffee – Ethiopia Homacho Waeno – 93 points
Third place: Gimme Coffee – Ethiopia Wotena Battuma – 91 points
Fourth place (tied): Allegro Coffee – Rwanda Buremera – 89 points
Fourth place (tied): Nossa Familia Coffee – MIG Washing Station Ginkongora Rwanda – 89 points
HarVee 2014 Roaster Awards for Coffees from Central America and Mexico
First place: Equator Coffees & Teas – Guatemala Finca El Valle Antigua – 92 points
Second place (tied): Water Avenue Coffee – El Salvador El Manzano – 89 points
Second place (tied): Dillanos Coffee Roasters – Las Lajas Honey Costa Rica Organic – 89 points
Third place (tied): Café Mystique – Mexico FTO – 88 points
Third place (tied): Café Moto – Nicaragua Las Hermanas FTO – 88 points