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

Too Much coffee

Not many of you know (I know this as not many people go there), but we have a forum called Has Forum. The board has been empty for a long while, and I think its time to wind it up. Its a shame as I love forums, but you need other people there to talk too.

But good news. I am the founder member of a coffee forum called toomuchcoffee.com. I used to be very active on there, but the software got a little old, and the community dropped away. So much so the owner was going to wrap it up also. So I stepped in and offered to host the site and take on the running.

Part of the new revamp is that sponsors can have their own forum, so there is a Has Bean Coffee forum there. Also if you sign up the members room might have some special member offers too, so even more reason to get involved. And hopefully there will be more people coming along over time.

The great thing about the rest of the forum is that is a non advertising (and is managed by a group of admins who are amazing). A friendly forum where being nasty won’t be tolerated and keyboard warriors rejected, but also where no question is too stupid. With over 120,000 posts most have been asked and you can search, or ask again and hopefully we will build up enough people to answer them.

Look forwards to seeing you pop along soon.

Life of the poor and famous ..

I am lucky that people seem to be interested in how Has Bean started and my background. Heavens knows why, but they do seem to be.

On two occasions I have been asked in the past weeks to give an interview, one was a recorded one for a podcast and the other for a digital magazine

No doubt some of you might be interested (well my mom and the shifty looking dog down the park both expressed and interest) so I thought I would post them here.

The magazine you will need some kind of android device or iPhone, and normally you have to pay, but I got a deal so you could read it without and you just have to go here

http://go.hasbean.co.uk/magazine

The audio interview can be found here

http://go.hasbean.co.uk/interview

I hope you enjoy

Roland’s other last day in Costa Rica

So Roland sneaked in an extra day before his flights home, so here it is.

 

I kept up the busy pace for my last day in Costa Rica. Francisco, our exporter, arranged to take a group of jury members out to the West Valley to see some of the farms and mills that had success yesterday. Luckily for me, there were some familiar names in the Cup of Excellence results!

We started with a visit to the Herbazu micromill. Antonio from Herbazu won the top spot, and of course we’ve had coffees from them for quite a few years now, so it was great to see him and the mill. From there, he took us up to the farm plot that had won – Leoncio. Named after his grandfather, it’s a very organised farm. He’s planted it with a range of different varietals – bourbon, geisha, villa sarchi, Ethiopian, Catimor and the one he used for the winning lot – SL28. This is one we think of as a Kenyan varietal, but in this case his seeds came from El Salvador.
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This was also a great example of how close speciality coffee growing in Costa Rica – and especially the West Valley – is: Finca Leoncio is the plot of land directly below Cafe ARBAR, that I had visited last Saturday! As we were leaving, we stopped to say hello to Carlos there and he ended up coming with us to our next stop. Only two minutes down the road, we found ourselves at the Vista Al Valle micromill – another familiar name! As it happens, Carlos is also a cousin of the family who own the mill, so soon all of us were in the family’s front room were they’d put on a lovely spread of fresh fruit for everyone.

image3We then took a look around their mill – it really lived up to it’s name – View of the Valley. After spending time looking around, Francisco, ourselves and all the producers and their families went up to a local restaurant for some lunch. It really reinforced the sense of community within the West Valley, as more farmers turned up and everyone chatted over food, with lots of congratulations to Antonio!

All that was left was for me to head to the airport and the long journey home. Saying my goodbyes, it felt hard to imagine that I had only met everyone in the last week. Being on a Cup of Excellence jury and meeting producers was an intense experience – absolutely incredible – and one I’ll never forget.image1

Roland’s Diary. the last day ……

The last day of Cup of Excellence Costa Rica 2015 started as early as the others, but this time we only had one cupping session. By this point, we had selected the top 10, so our task for the day was to give them final scores and descriptions for use when they are put up to auction. For this cupping, we were also joined by members of the National Jury and other guests to see what we had picked. It’s a really interesting selection that made it, as they are very varied.

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The end of the cupping was a bit of a mixed experience – a relief to have got the last round of cupping finished, but also sadness that it was the end of the week and time to say goodbye to new friends. Everyone who ran the event did a great job and was incredibly helpful and friendly – there’s a lot involved in getting something this big organised and they did fantastically.

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Our scores were compiled and the final rankings decided, ready for the awards ceremony in the afternoon. In the end, 35 coffees have made it to auction, with the top two scoring over 90 points and getting a special Presidential Award. The awards ceremony itself was quite an experience too – the atmosphere was electric as they started announcing the winning farms.

I was sat with the family from a farm called El Quetzal, who were competing for the first time in Cup of Excellence. They were placed 35th this time, and we’re really happy to have got CoE status. It was also very positive to hear how committed they were to learning from the experience and to build on their success for next year.

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Roland’s Diary, Day 7

Roland continues his travels in Costa Rica. He seems to be making lots of friends, but not getting much of a tan

 

Time has flown in Costa Rica – it doesn’t seem like my seventh day here, with less than two days before I head back to Britain. Today was the second round of the Cup of Excellence. Of the 60 coffees that were presented to the International Jury, 41 made it through to the second round. Starting at 8am, we finished our 5 cupping sessions at 6pm having scored all 41. Over night, the back room team will collate the scores, to identify the top 10 that we will then cup again tomorrow to give more detailed feedback on.

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The range of coffees we have tasted this week has been huge – I’m looking forward to tomorrow when I’ll be able to put a name to the farms that grow these coffees. That will also be a bit sad, as it’s the last day with the other jury members – it’s been great to get to know fantastic coffee professionals from all over the world (the photos are me with the two National Jury members who joined the International Jury – Jose Javier Carmona and Jose Pablo Juarez).

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