It is always exciting when the winning lots from the Cup of Excellence (COE) competition come up for auction. Those winning lots go through unprecedented scrutiny to score as they do. We're always conscious that interest will be high. Couple that with the nerves and anticipation of the auction process - which lots are we interested in? Are we able to secure any of them? Have we budgeted enough? How are we going to break it to the team if we don't get the coffee we wanted?
Our samples of the winning lots of the Mexico COE coffees arrived halfway through 2018. As soon as our Roasting Dept. got their hands on the coffee they cleared the cupping table, polished their spoons and got their slurp on. Both teams (Australia and New Zealand) were stoked with the overall quality and picked their favourites. Next, we needed to win the auction of the coffee - a vital step. These auctions attract a huge amount of interest from the global speciality coffee community. So, we scheduled Heath for the night shift - he popped a No-Doz, made his favourite late night snack and made sure his laptop charger was at the ready.
The COE auctions go live, worldwide, at the same time with buyers logging in to start bidding. The countdown clock begins when all of the coffees have a bid on them. However, the clock resets every time a new bid is made. Because of this, the auction can go on forever. Once the clock hits zero, all leading bidders give themselves a pat on the back and go to sleep knowing they've got some of the world's finest coffees hitting their shores in the days to come.
This is the first time we have purchased a coffee from the Mexico COE competition and we're pretty excited to share it with you. The coffee, Lot 10 of the COE Mexico competition, hails from Finca Poxtla in Veracruz. Poxtla boasts an intriguing spiciness on the aroma with a complex line-up of red and citrus fruit notes complemented by a juicy acidity and smooth chocolate body. Yum.
A very small amount of COE Mexico, Poxtla was harvested and we've got the whole lot of it. We will be selling the coffee in 150g and 250g bags online from late Wednesday 30 January with our locations serving the coffee from Thursday 31 January.
We don't expect such a small yield of such an exceptional crop to last very long. If you're interested in this award-winning coffee from Poxtla, purchase here for Australia, here for New Zealand and here for Japan.
Finca Poxtla (pronounced Pokt-la) makes its home in the Sierra Madre Oriental mountain range and is located close to the municipality of Tlaltetela in the southern state of Veracruz.
Finca Poxtla overlooks the Rio la Antigua which winds its way through the valley below. The farm has 65 hectares of coffee planted mainly with Typica, Caturra and Bourbon which all grow under the shade of the Mexican white oak intertwined with rambling vanilla vines.
This award-winning lot of Bourbon and Typica has flavours of apple crumble and lemon curd with a smooth and juicy body. See some of the technical details here:
Farmer: María Victoria Marini Debernardi
Region: Tlaltetela, Veracruz
Varietal: Bourbón, Typica
Altitude: 1310 MASL
You can see the rich, ripe cherries and the coffee drying at María Victoria Marini Debernardi's farm below. Thank you to Cup of Excellence for providing the images.
Maybe you’re sitting there, scratching your head and asking ‘what’s a COE coffee?’ The Cup of Excellence is a competition that started 20 years ago, with the intention of linking previously unknown coffee producers and their beautiful coffees with the consumer world, through a competition and auction system.
Cup of Excellence is the most prestigious award a coffee producer obtain. The level of scrutiny that the competing coffees undergo is unmatched in the specialty coffee industry. Each year, thousands of coffees are submitted. The winning coffees are then sold in global online auctions at premium prices, with the majority of auction proceeds going to the farmers.
The competition is rigorous, with cupping evaluations conducted over a three-week process by industry experts: first by a National Jury of about a dozen qualified jurors from the origin country, and then by an International Jury, made up of approximately 20-25 experienced jurors from around the world.
A competition with 300 entries yields an average of 9,000 analysed cups, with each “Top 10” coffee being cupped at least 120 times. Talk about palate fatigue.
The COE competition has pioneered integrity and transparency in the coffee industry. Each entrant's coffee sample is assigned a top secret number, that only the auditor knows, then each jury member cups the coffee blind.