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Colombian Coffee Farmers Celebrate Top Quality Coffee
Press release from Cup of Excellence, Date: March 24, 2006
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Missoula MT. (March 6, 2006) - In a torch lit outdoors ceremony held at Colombia’s famous Coffee Park, 23 coffee farmers were honored with the coveted Cup of Excellence® award. Over 250 people enjoyed the Friday evening festivities coordinated by the Comité de Cafeteros del Quindío. The three week long competition held in Armenía was the second Cup of Excellence® event to be hosted in this coffee growing area, which focuses primarily on the northern and central coffee-growing regions of the country. Since Colombia uniquely features two distinct harvests, another competition will take place in late August to capture the best coffees from the later harvest and Colombia’s southernmost coffee-growing regions.

605 farmers entered samples into the 3 week long competition involving six cupping rounds, over 30 national and international coffee cuppers, two roasters and over 25 staff members coordinating the technical aspect of the stringent cuppings.

Four presidential awards were handed out-two more than last year. These over 90 scoring coffees are very rare and are given a special prize in addition to the Cup of Excellence® award.  Luis Alberto Jojoa won the coveted first place with a sixteen-bag lot from his farm, Perla del Otun, located in the municipality of Pitalito. Six of the 23 winners are located in Pitalito.

Extremely close second and third places were awarded to Neovan Manrique with a lot from the Progresso farm, and Olga Lara Peromo from the La Virginia farm. The three top scoring coffees were less than one point apart in scores. The fourth presidential award was handed to Alonso Sevilla Zúñiga, also from Pitalito, and with a coffee lot from the Dos Quebradas farm.

Most of the winning coffees come from very small farms. With the exception of 4 farms, all of the farmers had less than 10 hectares of coffee growing area and most had less than 5 hectares. Colombia has several hundred thousand small coffee farmers, many of whom can produce exceptional coffee. “With the number of small farmers, and the unique microclimates and diverse mountain geography, we have found phenomenal and unique flavor profiles especially as many of the farmers are focusing on quality improvement on an unprecedented scale to win the competition,” indicated Susie Spindler, manager of The Cup of Excellence® program. “It is really exciting to see the changes that are occurring as farmers are recognized for their efforts and hard work,” she continued.

The winning coffees will be auctioned to the highest bidder on April 13, 2006, after the samples have been sent out to interested roasters and importers.

This was the 23rd Cup of Excellence® competition to be held in Latin America. Other participating countries have enjoyed record average prices at auction for their winning coffee lots. For more information about the Colombian winning farmers, to register for the auction and 2006 Cup of Excellence membership, or to find a complete list of the 2005 winning coffees and their buyers log on to www.cupofexcellence.org.

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