The 8th Annual Força Café Competition was again a remote undertaking, instead of several bustling, communal days of calibration and cupping. And still, it was a great success. Winners of the competition — which celebrates and encourages the efforts of smallholder producers in Brazil— were announced Nov. 3, and an online auction kicked off the next day.
We’re thrilled to share that InterAmerican won the top-three lots (!) as well as three coffees that Trader Gerra Harrigan and InterAmerican QC Specialist Daniela Altamirano were especially excited about on the cupping table.
“I am thrilled with the coffees we bid on and won this year,” says Gerra. “Each one is unique and delicious — candy sweetness and tropical fruits prevailed! Four of our six winners are also women producers and their coffees will carry the IWCA seal.”
NKG export company Stockler purchased all 42 coffees that were accepted into the competition at well above market price, and the top 12 coffees in the two categories (natural process and pulped natural) made it to auction. Every dollar spent during the auction, above the initial purchase price, goes directly back to the producers.
These premiums have dramatically impacted producers’ businesses over the years, as Rafael Bastos (this year’s third-place winner), said during the live announcement ceremony in November. Earnings from past competitions enabled him to buy new wet-processing machinery and dryers, which he credited with improving his coffee’s consistency and cup quality. Another producer described building a cupping room with her winnings — an investment that likewise dramatically improved her ability to compete in the specialty market.
On every bag won at auction, InterAmerican also elected to pay a per-pound premium toward Casa da Crianca, a critical youth center in the coffee community of Santo Antônio do Amparo, which this year led to a donation of $1,203. (You can read more about the center here.)
Continuing the contest remotely wouldn’t have been possible without our volunteer panel of judges, who we’re so incredibly grateful for. Our warmest thanks to Pete Femino, with Aero Coffee; David Conboy, with Karma Coffee; Jay Kling, with Irving Farm; Neil Balkom, with Swing’s Coffee Roasters; Emma Stratigos, with Salt City Coffee; Jonathan Withers, with Gregory’s Coffee; Emeran Langmaid, with A&E Coffee; and Jim Osborn, with Dispatch Coffee.
Our Força Café microlots are now being prepared for shipment and should reach our East Coast warehouses in March.
FIRST PLACE WINNER
Joseane Borges da Silva, SOLD
SECOND PLACE WINNER:
Rosimeire Aparecida Guerra, SOLD
THIRD PLACE WINNER
Rafael Bastos da Silva, 20 bags
Region: Matas de Minas
Altitude: 1,250 masl
Variety: Catuai 55 Vermelho
Cupping notes: Raspberry, strawberry, chocolate, cherry, floral; vibrant acidity, buttery body.
Carlos Eduardo de Souza, 18 bags,Region: Circuito das Águas
Variety: Mundo Novo
Cupping notes: Blackberry, raspberry, lemon, chocolate; citric acidity, creamy body.
Maria Aparecida Bento, 17 bags
Region: Campo das Vertentes
Altitude: 1,015 masl
Variety: Red Catuai 144
Cupping notes: Chocolate, orange, caramel, roasted nuts; citric acidity, velvety body.
Roseangela Moura Alves, 12 bags
Region: Matas de Minas
Altitude: 1,340 masl
Variety: Red Catuaí
Cupping notes: Orange, lemonade, black tea; candy-like sweetness, citric and malic acidity. •