The top two spots in Myanmar’s first ever national cupping competition, held in Yangon, went to two women farmers from the village of Pway-Na-Phar near Ywangan, in the Southern Shan State.
Receiving 58 samples from smallholder farmers throught Shan State, the competition was part of the Value Chains for Rural Development program, which was funded by USAID, implemented by Winrock International and organized on the ground by the Myanmar Coffee Association and the Coffee Quality Institute.
The competition, which separately evaluated coffees from larger estates, marked an important moment in the contemporary cultivation of coffee in Myanmar (formerly Burma), which has only in recent years made efforts to plant higher-quality arabica varieties, as opposed to robustas, which fetch lower market prices.
Using the Q System protocols for evaluation of green and roasted coffees, a panel of three international Q Graders and regional observers found 21 of the 58 smallholder coffees met specialty grade, scoring at 80 or higher. Coffees from Ms. Daw Phyu and Ms. Daw Mya Hnin, who each tend to less-than-one-acre lots planted with Cataui, scored highest in the competition, at 84.25 and 84.05, respectively. Another Cataui from Mr. U Nyo of Lel Kaing Village scored third at 82.58. These and other participating farmers were honored at a July 18 ceremony in Pyin Oo Lwin on July 18.
The judges also used the Tastify app, developed by green coffee importer Sustainable Harvest, to create visual representations of the sensory analysis for each coffee scored. Those full-color representations were shared with farmers. See the Tastify picture for the winning coffee here.