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El Salvador coffees impress Cup of Excellence judges

On April 9th the Alliance for Coffee Excellence (ACE) commenced its 15th edition of the Cup of Excellence (COE) in El Salvador. The competition was held in San Salvador. The jury represented markets from Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, the United States, Germany, Russia, Australia, Singapore and El Salvador.

Farmers from six regions submitted 194 samples, which were narrowed down to 40 samples that consistently passed 87+ points when evaluated by the El Salvador national jury. During the first round of the international jury phase, international and national jurors passed all 40 coffees to the final phase of the competition, a testament to the skill of the national jury and farmers alike. From those coffees, 38 have made it to the COE Auction, which will take place on 29 May.

ACE Head Judge John Moore said of the coffees: “Classic types were stunning in clarity – bourbons with complex and compelling acidity, structure and juicy flavor. Pacamara coffees with extraordinary depth, tropical fruit, and exotic notes. Perfectly executed processing was really the story of the competition – washed coffees with absolute transparency, honeys and naturals with extraordinary clarity and acidity.  It was an eye-opener to see just how crystal-clear coffees were expressed in all three major processing types.” 

The top 10 coffees impressed the international jury with skilled processing that resulted in a process breakdown of four Naturals, four Honeys and two Washed coffees. First time competitor Margarita Lucia Diaz De Lopez represents the Lopez family and ranked first-place with 91.8-point coffee from Finca El Manzano (La Cumbre), and also second-place with 91.6-point coffee from Finca El Manzano. Finca El Manzano also rose to the top with the variety Gesha, which marks the first time El Salvador has ranked first-place with this variety. J. Raul Rivera S.A. De C.V. ranked third-place with 90.57-point coffee from Finca Santa Rosa. “I knew I had something specialty to share.” said Margarita’s son Emilio Lopez Diaz.

COE Senior Manager Erin Wang, said: “The coffees I tasted this week showcased diverse and elegant expressions of high-quality coffee in El Salvador. Many long time jury members excitingly expressed you would not see this quality in cup or in processing 10 years ago.”

At the end of the week, national juror Mario Escobar said, “With these coffees we let the world know that we are a small producer country doing big things.”

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