El Salvador and the “Quality Coffee Event 2016”

I know many readers here will have seen my blog post, about the disappointment of the Alliance for coffee excellence cancelling a number of next years program in Africa and Central America.

One of the ones that disturbed me the most was the El Salvador program, which is one thats been super close to my heart. This was the the first cup of excellence program that I was able to buy the number one coffee (2007) and purchase that I followed through with a long term relationship (and many since). This has also be a a country that has been hit hard by the leaf rust epidemic thats swept through some of my favourite growing areas, and effected many of my friends who we buy coffee from.

It was also the place that I had emails reaching out to me, from producers (read as three separate people) who read my blog post and were compelled to contact me, expressing how upset they were that the program wouldn’t be coming and how some of them had been working on special lots to enter the competition, and their work was to be wasted.

So instead of a negative blog post about how bad this is, it’s lovely to report that the Consejo who are the supporting body for the Salvadorian coffee community have written to me and said that they plan to hold a national project to carry on the local specialty discovery program in house, and carry on the hard work done over many years of COE programs. Sure the protocols will be different I am sure, and some of the way its implemented will be different, but I am sure with a good group of people searching through samples for quality and using protocols and procedures, there will still be a very good opportunity to find true quality coffee and help producers find quality buyers.

I’m also really excited that the Consejo have asked me to be one of the judges for this program this year, and I am more than happy to offer my help and support to make sure something happens.

Dates are yet to be confirmed and I ma sure there are many hurdles to overcome, but I am excited to be involved, and I’ll be offering as much support as I possibly can, and very excited to be asked to be involved.

Watch this space!!!!

Cup of Excellence announcment

Another huge shock that a non profit US lead organisation makes terrible communication announcement and fails to involve its membership in the decision making process. Following on from the SCAA announcing cutting its regional barista competitions.

It’s no shock to me that the cup of excellence arrogantly sent out an email last night saying without blinking they will be stopping for one year the competitions in El Salvador, (one of my personal favourites), Nicaragua and Mexico along with all the african programs of Burundi and Rwanda. No consultation with the membership (not that I expect it I only hear from them at renewal time when they want my benefactor membership fees that I’ve paid since 2005) to slash the program in half.

Its a program that I love, without it I wouldn’t have half the relationships we have for buying great coffee, I owe it so much. I also wouldn’t have met some of the greats of the coffee industry on jury’s and be able to call them friends, I learned so much in those jury days.

I loved it so much I was on the board of directors for a couple of years (much to the annoyance of the board and officers of the organisation). You see they like to build the board, and when I asked to be part of it I was told to go away and thank you for your interest, but the “nominations committee” had decided who they would have instead of the membership. So I raised 20 names and forced a ballot for what I believe was the first time, and got voted on. This gift meant I had a horrible two years flying to silly parts of the world (art my own cost) to sit on board meetings where you were powerless to do anything, and decisions were made else where behind closed doors, and in private meetings.

But this is a distraction, the news that came through last night was typically delivered without a concern or consultation for the membership, or thoughts of how this might effect some of the hardest hit coffee producers in the world.

The announcement states that the 2016 program will only include Brazil(BSCA),Colombia(FNC),Costa Rica(SCACR), Guatemala(Anacafe) and Honduras (SCAH)) while they fine tune the program.

Why are these remaining and the others being cut? Well its funny all the remaining competitions have coffee organisations in country with some money to pay for the program and are the very easy wins. This means bye bye to Nicaragua (who has had trouble funding the competition for a few years), El Salvador (the Consejo has been in disarray for a while and leaf rust has decimated the Salvadorian coffee industry), Mexico (thats a young program and only been in place a few years with varied success) and the African programs in Rwanda and Burundi (typically hard to run when your based in North America previously Montana and now Seattle are renowned for being a long way from Africa).

Why are these countries that need all the help being cut ? whats the rational to take away the tool the people need the most?

To take time out to fine tune.

A new auction platform.

I’ve had this priced up as I was trying to help a producer who ACE didn’t want to help. Around $15,000 and a month development time. Maybe I can put the organisation in touch with my dev team.

Update exciting competition standards

I’ve been told for years they are always in development and evolving and we have the best standards in the world for coffee competitions. But if this needs looking at, set up a working group, let them worry about that.

Creating and implementing and electronic cupping form.

I can help with this, I have a customer who is doing this for the has bean app. But if your not happy with that theres catador thats a wonderful app, I am sure if you talked to them they will help out

Improving post auction logistical issues with respect to purchased lots and deliveries

Really ? We live in a world of importers that do this all the time and have expertise. Were closing down half the program because of this?

You need to kill half the program for some of the most needy countries to do this ? It’s a joke, if there are reasons I’m willing to listen and hear them, but these are excuses and cop outs.

I’ve fell out of love with the organisation for a long time, and this is the nail in the coffin. I’ve spent around $15,000 – $20,000 on membership over the last 10 years with samples and alike. Spent many more thousands on flights for jury’s, and many more on flights when I was on the board, not to count the many thousands on lots over 10 years. But thats me done, I’m out I’m off to support an organisation that supports its producers and members.

 

2016 COE Schedule Announcement

Ask Stevee pt 2

So in my quest to answer your questions I’ve done another audio podcast to answer all the things about coffee you were to afraid to ask

there will be more of these so keep the questions coming

Ask #stevee not Garyvee