Ultimate Coffee? Colombia’s Cup of Excellence Competition

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

In Colombia, they take coffee pretty seriously. And at the Cup of Excellence competition, the coffee industry’s Oscars, this seriousness takes the form of a month long competition between the country’s greatest coffee farms. It’s the incredible detail behind this competition that inspired Wired magazine to devote a feature spot in their July issue. You’ll be amazed at how these professionals taste coffee!

The competition began with 513 submissions in the form of green, unroasted coffee beans from farms across Colombia. 18 judges evaluate the coffee in cupping sessions. Essentially, cupping involves tasting a small batch of unfiltered coffee. However, the precise regulations behind cupping are staggering. Wired includes a guide to cupping, which is worth checking out for the very specific rules it contains. For example, once the freshly roasted beans (roasted within 24 hours of the cupping, and allowed to rest for an additional 8 hours) have been ground (so that 70 to 75 percent of the particles passing through a US standard size-20 mesh sieve) and steeped in hot water (200 degrees Fahrenheit), the resulting “crust” of coffee grounds must be broken by stirring 3 times with a spoon. Detailed enough for you?

The stakes are huge. The winning farm is guaranteed to have a record selling crop and international exposure.

Do you buy specialty coffee beans?

(Image: Sivan Lewin/Wired)