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‘Perfectly Executed Processing’ Shines at 2018 El Salvador Cup of Excellence

From the 2018 El Salvador Cup of Excellence judging. Photo courtesy of the Alliance for Coffee Excellence.

The 15th El Salvador Cup of Excellence competition concluded earlier this month, with an international jury awarding 38 lots from numerous regions throughout the country a score of 87+ after six rigorous cupping rounds in total. An auction for all the El Salvador COE-winning coffees will take place Sunday, May 29.

Four of the top 10 coffees — two fully washed, four naturals, and four honey-process — cracked the 90-point mark, according to the final jury composed of professional coffee tasters from Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, the United States, Germany, Russia, Australia, Singapore and El Salvador.

“The coffees I tasted this week showcased diverse and elegant expressions of high quality coffee in El Salvador,” COE Senior Manager Erin Wang said in an announcement from COE organizer Alliance for Coffee Excellence. “Many long time jury members [excitedly] expressed [that] you would not see this quality in cup or in processing 10 years ago.”

Photo courtesy of the Alliance for Coffee Excellence.

The top two scoring lots in the competition (91.8 and 91.6) came from Finca El Manzano, part of the renowned Cuatro M coffee company, represented in the competition by Margarita Lucia Diaz De Lopez, the mother of current Coffee Roasters Guild chair Emilio Lopez Diaz. The overall winner was a Gesha variety, the first Gesha to take the top spot in an El Salvador COE contest, according to ACE. A coffee from Finca Santa Rosa, represented by J. Raul Rivera S.A. De C.V., placed third with a score of 90.57.

U.S.-based ACE Head Judge John Moore of Volcafe Specialty Coffee repeatedly used the word “clarity” to describe the El Salvador COE coffees as a whole.

“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,” he said. “Perfectly executed processing was really the story of the competition… It was an eye-opener to see just how crystal-clear coffees were expressed in all three major processing types.”