It’s been a week since getting back from attending Best Cup Colombia and I’ve had so many incredible experiences to reflect on. It was a wonderful opportunity for me and I am so grateful to the people I met during this trip and to my boss Tony Vo for sending me to represent Waterbean. This is an event hosted by BanExport, a company located in Bogotá, Colombia and organized by Cafe Imports from Minneapolis, Minnesota. This year, over 1,300 local producers from the Cauca, Nariño and Huila regions of Colombia submitted their lots to be scored in order to find the top coffees produced this year. I was joined by many other coffee buyers who were invited to participate in the event from within the US and internationally.
After arriving in the city of Popayán we were greeted and given a tour of the “Cuidad Blanco,” a nickname given to describe the white facade on all of the historic town center’s buildings. Popayán has many other nicknames that describe it for various reputations such as being the city that has produced the most presidents in Colombia, for having many universities, and as the city of gastronomy.
As we took our tour, the streets were crowded with people bustling to and from classes, work, and church or just spending time around the square as the sun set. We also had a welcome dinner where we became acquainted with our hosts Andrew Miller and Jairo Ruiz from Cafe Imports and Ban Export.
The following day we began cupping! For those inexperienced with cupping, it’s a way of scoring coffee on an objective scale to determine the quality. This is done by comparing multiple cups of the same beans and scoring along a scale for different attributes of coffee such as acidity, flavor, aroma and sweetness (among others). On each table we were cupping between five to ten coffees, and by the end of the week we tasted over eight tables, or sixty cups of the best coffee in Colombia! After each cupping we discussed our scores as a group to determine our average and to provide tasting notes of the coffees.