Paul’s Guatemala Cup of Excellence Blog: Day 1

I am so excited to be in Guatemala participating as a judge in the Cup of Excellence 2013!  It’s been a very busy trip so far.  I left Kansas City Sunday on a direct flight straight to Guatemala City.  Yesterday, the Cup of Excellence officially began.

I am a part of a panel that will judge the Cup of Excellence this year.  There are 26 cuppers on the panel from the US, Asia, Europe and Australia.

But I am doing more than just judging.  I am also using the Cup of Excellence experience to continue to learn more about coffee throughout the world.  Day 1 I learned about what’s going on in the world with roya, also known as coffee rust. Here are some take-aways from the presentation:

  • 15-20% of crop will be lost next year compared to this year because of the roya problem.
  • The biggest impact of all will be the socioeconomic repercussions due to farmers employing less workers.  This will be a loss of 400,000 jobs in Guatemala alone next year and another 350,000 the following year.
  • Thanks to the Anacafé (Asociación Nacional del Café), financial assistance will be available for farmers and their families.
  • Anacafé is discounting herbicides that kill roya and are educating the public on pruning and rust control as well as the diversification of crops.

After learning about this increasing problem throughout the world (and what to do about it), it was time for an acids demonstration.  In the demonstration, we learned how different organic acids react (taste) when combined with salt, sweet, bitter and astringent.

It was also calibration day at the Cup of Excellence (to make sure everyone scores the coffees in a similar manner).  We had two tables, one with four different coffees and the other with six.  We tasted some delicious coffees as well as some pretty bad ones.  The purpose of this was so that the judges could see what types of coffees would be on the tables for the next five days.  There are a total of 39 coffees that made it through the national jury…we will see how many coffees make it past the international jury!  In order to do so, coffees will need to score above an 85. 

 Between cuppings, presentations, judging and testing, I have hardly had the chance to sit down here at the Cup of Excellence!  I’m off to bed, Roasterie fans.  Come back soon for more from Guatemala!