Rolands blog take over continues with his day 5 diary
My 5th day in Costa Rica was the start of the real work – the International Jury’s first round of cupping coffees to find the Cup of Excellence winners. The week before, the National Jury found 78 coffees that were eligible for going forward – which the rules say had to be cut to the top 60 for us to cup this week. That’s the first time the cut has had to be applied in Costa Rica, so a really good sign! There is also a record number of jury members this year, so lots of work for the back room team here, but they’re doing a great job.
Starting at 8am, we began 3 rounds of cuppings, each with 10 coffees in – that puts us now half way through the first round of the competition. Each cupping is followed by a discussion time, where the head judge makes sure we’re all happy with things and nothing is getting missed.
After lunch, we were taken on a trip to visit Beneficio La Eva, a wet mill and dry mill in the West Valley. They deal in both speciality coffee and commodity grade, and are an example of a traditional coffee mill in Costa Rica, which was very interesting. The mill is a mix of old and new, as they retain all their original buildings and much of their original kit, but have had to invest to meet the strict environmental criteria that the Costa Rican government demands.
They also kindly put on dinner for us and some other farmers and mills – a great chance to meet people and learn more! Speciality coffee is quite a small world, so I wasn’t entirely surprised to discover I had had coffee from the family I was sat with at dinner – put it was a pleasant surprise to discover they ran Las Lajas, from whom we had their delicious Perla Negra Natural back in 2011.