For the past several years, I’ve covered the Rainforest Alliance (RA) Cupping for Quality awards, a competition for RA-certified farms. In its first year, 2003, eight countries submitted 40 coffees for consideration. There is now so much participation, and to accommodate the variable seasonality of the world’s coffees, that two cuppings are held each year: May for Central America and India, and December for the southern hemisphere including Brazil, Peru, East Africa, and Indonesia.
My last report was for the December 2009 cupping, and just recently RA announced the winners of the May 2010 cupping. There were 68 coffees submitted, mostly from Central America, but with India and the Dominican Republic competing for the first time.
Here are the top ten winners and their scores.
- El Injerto (Guatemala) — 89.73. Four time winner of the Guatemalan Cup of Excellence. 470 of the 720 ha of this farm in Huehuetenango (15.564794, -91.941574) is forested.
- El Cashal (El Salvador) — 86.95 Located in Ahuachapán in the western part of El Salvador (map here).
- Coopranaranjo R.L. (Costa Rica)* – 86.45. A cooperative/mill in Naranjo, Central Valley. Markets coffee under five different brands. There isn’t any mention of which/how many producers are RA certified.
- La Bendición (Guatemala) – 86.38. Located in Chimaltenango (14.486317, -91.004567). An allied farm, Santa Elisa Pachup, came in second place a couple of years ago.
- San Diego Buena Vista (Guatemala) – 86.37. Acatenango, Chimaltenango (14.543416, -90.975137).
- Coopedota R.L. (Costa Rica) – 86.20. A large cooperative and mill, marketing at least eight brands. One, Cafe Hermosa, is marketed as RA certified. The mill also has facilities for separating micro-lots from individual producers.
- La Hilda (Costa Rica) – 85.95. A single estate. A look at this video, which I believe to be the correct place, shows that the production area is primarily sun coffee, as is typical in much of Costa Rica. You can look at it in Google Earth as well (10.093514, -84.216667). It looks like the production area is sun, but that there is adjacent forest. Portland Roasting works directly with this farm more info at their site.
- El Zapote (Guatemala) – 85.78. There are multiple farms with this name in Guatemala, but I am pretty sure this is the finca in Acatenango, Chimaltenango (14.547683, -90.968283).
- Cafetalera Tirrá, S.A. (Costa Rica) — 85.13. Processes and markets the coffee grown in Poas and Alajuela.
- Jesus María (Nicaragua) — 85.13. I think this is near Matagalpa.
*Aside from #7, the Costa Rican winners are cooperatives and/or mills. Coffee from Costa Rica is often named or branded by the mill, which processes coffee from farms in the surrounding region, so farm source can sometimes be difficult to determine. These are pretty large entities, and Rainforest Alliance explained to me that while not all members/suppliers of the named winner are certified, the mill or co-op submits a representative sample of 100% certified coffee from a RA-certified farm or farms. RA requires segregation and traceability of their certified coffee from the rest of the coffee moving through the supply chain.