Boliva cup of Excellence 2006

Some really bad news today from the cup of excellence. Last year I was lucky enough to be on the jury for Bolivia and also bought at auction one of my favourite coffees of all time. Its sad that this has happened, and I do hope that its sorted soon. It brings home the politics involved in South American coffee and the massive part the drug growing in this region really effects the people.To give you an insight to the problems, the recent elections in Bolivia resulted in the elected president being in Favour of growing coca of which cocaine can be derived (with strong links of backing by these growers and the underworld involved in this). Uniquely Bolivia’s cup of excellence has been funded by USAID (us aid is the American aid agency that does a lot of good work in South America). USAID have withdrawn funding because of the new presidents stand. To me this is foolish as it just makes the farmer have to choose which can he get a better price for. Very sad

Here’s the press release.

We regret to inform you that we are postponing the Bolivia Cup of Excellence program until 2007. Given the present political uncertainly and some of the problems encountered in 2005 we all felt it would be in the best interest of both the Cup of Excellence program and the wonderful farmers of Bolivia to wait until we all were comfortable that the program could be successfully executed.

This postponement comes with sadness because we have met so many wonderful farmers and the quality of the coffees we discovered was so fantastic.

We are committed to helping Bolivia’s coffee producers become more sustainable and so we will spend some time during this year helping ACEB become a stronger supporter for exemplary coffee and laying the groundwork for a more effective Cup of Excellence program for the future.

Those of you who buy coffee from Bolivian farmers and would like help in this endeavor feel free to contact me or Sara and let us know.

We realize that many of you have already paid for samples and auction registration for Bolivia for 2006. We appreciate your support and will credit your account with this payment for your 2007 membership fees.

Thank you for your continued support

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    Plainspoken Coffee. A Coffee Review for Ordinary People by Ordinary People, #7. Paradise Roasters Calama MarkaBolivia Cup of Excellence. I had not actually intended on reviewing this coffee, but once a couple of us tasted it, we were so impressed…

  2. Thanks for your genuine concern for Bolivian farmers and for bringing this issue to people’s attention. I thought you would want to know that lots of other folks shared your disappointment and worked to try to fill the gap left by the cancellation. The leadership of the Federation of Bolivian Coffee Exporters (FECAFEB) got together with some preferred buyers from Cooperative Coffees (a cooperative of 21 roasters in Canada and the United States that imports exclusively Fair Trade coffees) to create the first-ever “Cup of Fair Trade Coffee” competition in Caranavi from Septemer 28-October 1. The event didn’t generate record prices at auction, but did provide FECAFEB members an important opportunity to spend three days at the cupping table profiling FECAFEB’s best samples and talking quality with preferred buyers from Canada, the United States and New Zealand. I manage the Fair Trade Program at Catholic Relief Services (the U.S. version of your CAFOD) and we were able to provide some modest financial support for the event and have posted the account of one participating roaster here: Throught you would want to know. Thanks again for bringing this issue to peoples’ attention.

  3. I’m known for my anti fair trade stance, not because I don’t believe in paying more for coffee, far from it I think we all pay far to little for our daily cup. My biggest problem with fair trade is it has no link of value to quality. The idea that you can pay more for good coffee and not the fixed fob price.

    So your article has come as a really nice surprise to me, that at last there is a push towards fairtrade also being quality. This is not to say I haven’t cupped some very good fair trade coffee, quite the contrary but its by luck and nothing to do with the design.

    Anything that raises coffee quality in the cup and gives a fairer deal to the farmer roaster and consumer has to be good in my book. Thank you for sharing this I’m really grateful

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