In a previous post, I mentioned that one of my favorite aspects of the recent SCAA conference was tasting the ten finalists in the Roasters Guild 2008 Roasters Choice Tasting Competition. The theme was Single Origin coffees, and 36 members of the Roasters Guild participated in the event by submitting roasted coffee. Voting was open to all conference attendees (nearly 8000!).
The winner: Caribou Coffee’s Roastmaster’s Reserve: Ethiopia Yirgacheffe. When I tasted this coffee (blind) I knew it was an Ethiopian, and I enjoyed the understated berry notes. And although I like Ethiopian coffees, I wouldn’t opt to drink one daily, which I considered a requirement for my vote. With so many great artisan roasters participating, many with very special microlots, I couldn’t help but be surprised that Caribou took top honors. I think this says a lot about this company. I’m not the only person who thinks Caribou does a fine job and is underappreciated for it. Check out these posts from the Coffeed forum, from both late last year and after the competition. Congrats, Caribou!
The full list of the winners is below.
I mentioned that #103 was my favorite, my second pick was #111. I knew 103, a Colombian microlot, was a classic from Latin America, but I thought that 111 was also. For a Rwandan, 111 was quite sweet and chocolately. I also love Kenyan coffees, but have to admit that 109, the third place Kenyan from The Roasterie, was one of the most difficult to categorize coffees I’ve tasted lately, and we tried it over three days. I thought it might be Sumatran, because for me it had some sort of vaguely sour earthy flavor. I wrote on my sheet “What is this?!” Kingfisher’s top pick was #104, the Tanzania (I pegged that origin blind, too!).
- RC102 – Caribou Coffee – Ethiopian Organic Yirgacheffe
- RC106 – Sweet Maria’s – Rwanda Gkongoro Nyarusiza
- RC109 – The Roasterie – Kenya Jambo Estate
- RC104 – Berres Brothers Coffee Roasters – Tanzania Peaberry – Songea
- RC105 – Dolce Gourmet Gelateria & Café – Panama – City Roast
- RC103 – Tony’s Coffees and Teas – Colombia – Tolima Microlot – Gaitania Cyerposo
- RC108 – Lexington Coffee Roasting Company – Rwanda Bufcafe
- RC107 – Bear Creek Coffee – Papua New Guinea
- RC110 – Vermont Artisan Coffee & Tea – Ethiopian Sidamo – Organic Fairtrade
- RC111 – Cuvee Coffee Roasting Company – Rwanda – Bucafe
Meanwhile, in an adjacent room, judges were cupping the entries in the 2008 Roasters Guild Coffee of the Year Competition.
The winner list is after the jump. A Colombian entry won first place, bumping Hacienda La Esmeralda to second place after winning the competition the last three years. I was pleased to see a Domincan Republic coffee in the top ranks. I would provide more links and information about the winners, but the list is so generic that I am unable to get more specifics.
1. C.I. Racafe & CIA S.C.A., Colombia (placed 11th last year)
2. Hacienda La Esmeralda, Panama
3. Volcafe Specialty Coffee, Ethiopia
4. Sidama Coffee Farmers, Co-Op Union, Ethiopia
5. San Rafael Pacun/ Cafetalera El Tunel S.A., Guatemala
6. Agropecuaria Salfar S.A./ San Sebastian, Guatemala
7. Agoga Plantation Limited, Papua New Guinea
8. Finca La Ilusion-Café de El Salvador, El Salvador (2008 Cup of Excellence winner)
9. Federacion Nacional de Cafeteros de Colombia, Colombia
10. San Jose Ocana, Guatemala
11. Big Island Fine Coffee, Hawaii
12. Kona Coffee Plantation, Hawaii
13. Consejo Dominicano Del Café (Natura Bella), Dominican Republic.