CarmoCoffees exporters, from Carmo de Minas, and Cafe Imports, our main coffee importer from Minneapolis, MN, hosted a group of roasters and coffee buyers from around the world for the “Carmo Best Cup” coffee competition last week, and we were fortunate enough to be invited.
The Carmo Best Cup event consisted of 240 coffee entries from farmers and coffee producers all over the South Minas region of Southeastern Brazil. During the first week of the event, there was an initial group of roasters and buyers visiting Carmo that was able to narrow the field from 240 coffees down to 30 coffees.
On the second week of the event, our group arrived with the goal of narrowing the top 30 coffees to the top 10 coffees. We then re-cupped the top 10 and ranked them to prepare for a live auction at the end of the week where we saw coffees auction for as much as $22 a pound, green.
In addition to the 30 Carmo Best Cup entries, we cupped 15 regional specific Serra Negra coffees, and 15 farm specific coffees of the Yellow Bourbon variety. We were able to purchase several coffees from the auction as well as the Serra Negra and Yellow Bourbon cuppings. We expect the coffees to arrive at our roastery in early 2020 and we can’t wait to share them with you.
Aside from cupping and live auctions, we were able to visit 4 different coffee farms and two different coffee processing mills. The farms we visited ranged from 5 hectares of coffee producing land to 330 hectares of coffee producing land and were as high as 1,450 meters (4,757 feet) above sea level. At the processing mills we visited we were able to experience a variety of processing methods such as natural, pulped natural, fully washed, and experimental anaerobic fermentation. Some of these processes are quite new to the coffee industry in Brazil and are helping to increase the overall quality and diversity of the coffees being produced.
We had a very special opportunity to visit a community outreach program that is funded and run by CarmoCoffees. The program is called CriaCarmo which translates to “Create Carmo”. The goal of the program is to assist at risk youth from the community by offering afterschool programs where they can learn to play chess, soccer, competitive swimming, and learn English as a second language. The program also offers social workers, tutors to help with school work, and counselors to help with their home life. This program would not be possible without funding from CarmoCoffees and in turn, the coffee that is being purchased by the roasters around the world. It is just another example of how the specialty coffee industry can have a truly positive impact in so many ways!
When thinking about this particular trip as a whole, we were reminded it was not just to buy coffee or visit farms. The real point of this trip was to bridge the gap between coffee producing nations and the roasters and end consumers. We had a chance to sit down with some of the farmers and producers and exchange thoughts and ideas about what we, as specialty roasters, can do to help them continue to improve the quality of their coffees. By creating these new-found relationships, we in the specialty coffee industry, can help effect positive change in the lives of the people working hardest to make great coffee a reality! When the farmers and producers can make a fair wage for their efforts, we are not only helping to make their lives better but also helping to ensure the sustainability of the specialty coffee industry as a whole.