The Rainforest Alliance Cupping for Quality award is designed to recognize exceptional coffees carrying the Rainforest Alliance seal and to highlight the linkage between sustainable farm management practices and cup quality. Two annual cuppings and awards are divided by geography. In December, coffees from the southern hemisphere — including Brazil, Peru, Kenya, Tanzania and Indonesia — compete.
The latest cupping evaluated 51 coffee samples from 9 origins, including one from Malawi, the first entry for that country. Here are the top 10 coffees:
- Ndumberi Factory, Kenya — 87.41. One of the coffee processing mills (factories) utilized by the Ndumberi cooperative. This group of over 2500 smallholders in the Kiambu region is also Fair Trade and UTZ Certified. Many of the members — the average size of their plots is 0.15 ha — do grow under some shade.
- Tunki, Peru — 86.91. Placed first last year, and second in 2010. Also certified organic and Fair Trade. Tunki is one of the coffees from CECOVASA (Central de Cooperativas Agrarias Cafetaleras de los Valles de. Sandia), a group of cooperatives totaling nearly 5000 members. CECOVASA has been working with Conservation International, and has won an award for their work preserving biodiversity. “Tunki” is the local name for the national bird of Peru, the spectacular Andean Cock-of-the-Rock, depicted in their logo. Equal Exchange has a good article on a visit to CECOVASA.
- El Silencio – Luis Fernando Arias Alzate, Colombia — 86.88. Also Fair Trade.
- Tegu Factory, Kenya — 86.09. Nyeri district, part of the Tekangu Farmers Cooperative, which has around 900 members. Also UTZ Certified. The co-op has engaged in a community tree planting project.
- Quechua, Peru — 86.00. Like Tunki, one of the CECOVASA coffees; also organic and Fair Trade. Came in 5th place in 2010.
- Santo Tomas 2, Eibar Jose Rojas Pajoy, Colombia — 85.44.
- Gichatha-ini Factory, Kenya — 85.18. Also Fair Trade and UTZ Certified.
- Ibonia Estate, Kenya — 84.46. Also UTZ Certified. Placed 6th in 2010.
- Coop Sol & Café [Coopertiva de Servicios Multiples Sol & Cafe], Peru — 84.25. Also Fair Trade and organic certified. This 1000+ member cooperative includes cacoa and rice producers. Third Coast Coffee, a Cooperative Coffees member, reported on a field trip there in this interesting post.
- Yadini Estate, Kenya — 84.23. A 131 ha estate (81 cultivated in cofffee) near Ruiru. Also UTZ Certified, and a Starbucks supplier. Placed 9th in 2010. According to a profile on their web site, “Bio- diversity is also being enhanced on the farm by the ongoing planting of coffee friendly shade trees” and they hope to market shade coffee in the future.
Last year, I began tracking the cumulative data on this competition going back to 2007. The average score for the top ten in this current event was 85.68, which is slightly above the previous average of 85.14. The top score of 87.41 was below the average of previous top scores (88.02). Not all countries have competed each year, but of the countries that have had coffees in at least five events, the highest average score goes to Peru at 86.30 (five events). Colombia (86.05, n=6) and Guatemala (86.04, n=5) came in next.
Search for these coffees online — I have seen quite a few of them offered within the last two crop years.
Previous results reported on here: