CoE Honduras Re-cap
Every licence plate in Honduras says, “Cuidamos los Bosques” – “We take care of our forests”. Usually the things said on licence plates hold some truth. I was really curious to see how their forest really looked. During my time in San Pedro Sula we saw some coffee growing regions after the daily cuppings. There was some slash-and-burn agriculture to be seen but it was under control. On the average, the steep upper sections of the hills did have plenty of cover. Over all I was impressed with their forest management.
The National Judges narrowed a field of 170 (if I remember correctly) down to 52 coffees for us to judge. After the first round we had only narrowed it down to 40 coffees. One the second round, which was Thursday, we cupped all 40 coffees to see if they could pass an 84 on the CoE cupping form for the second time. The third round of cupping is actually only the top ten to establish the ranking and get descriptors for those coffees. At the end of it, only 33 coffees made it through. Over all the coffees were brilliant. On the last day I wrote “candy” under sweetness twice. I found about 4 different profiles. All were acidic. Some were so bright that they turned sour as they cooled. Speaking only of acidity there was a full range of acidities and concentrations. Some were soft well structured and malic, others pointed and phosphoric, some were dry and tartaric. I will get more into the profiles in a different post.
Before my first participation in the Cup of Excellence, I was a fan of the program. They have successfully identified producers that are producing quality and rewarded them with never heard of prices. There are real barriers to finding some of these coffees. Certain people in the coffee chain benefit from blending brilliant coffee with commercial grade to sell something passable. To those people discovering new areas is not in their advantage because they might lose their source of high quality coffee to bring up the quality of their blends.
Twenty Four coffee professionals spent a full week cupping coffee knowing only they are from Honduras. We only could talk about coffees by table position. Last year the Santa Barbra region dominated. This year was the same, but only because the cups stood up for themselves on strong tables. I’m now an even bigger fan of the CoE after going through the process.