The inaugural Lao People’s Democratic Republic green coffee competition has concluded, giving international buyers a fresh view of quality potential from the Southeast Asian country.
The competition celebrated both the arabica and robusta species, while also awarding winners in the arabica category for washed, honey and natural processing, respectively.
Qualified judges from the United States and Switzerland blindly evaluated coffees following rigorous quality control and verification processes led by event organizer the nonprofit Coffee Quality Institute (CQI).
“I was amazed and intrigued by the range of flavors presented within these coffees from Laos. Additionally, they consistently presented a level of quality I had not associated with this growing region,” Starbucks Supervisor in Global Quality Aaron Alvis said in an announcement of the competition results from CQI. “Aromas of baking cinnamon, wine, red fruit, cardamom and brown sugar accompanied flavor notes including florals, tobacco, honey, elegant grapefruit and vanilla. This was a truly special sensory experience.”
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The green coffee competition was part of a United States Department of Agriculture-funded project known as CLEAN that is being implemented by the nonprofit Winrock International with the Lao Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) and the Lao Department of Agriculture (DOA). The four-year program is designed to promote the agricultural sector and market linkages, with particular emphasis on supporting ethnic farming communities in rural Laos.
The competition itself was organized by the international nonprofit Coffee Quality Institute (CQI), with additional support from L ‘Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and the Swiss Development and Cooperation (SDC).
The top five overall winners in the competition were produced by Jing Jhai Coffee Coop, Dao Coffee Factory and Bolaven Farms. The top-scoring coffee overall was a natural-process arabica that came from Jing Jhai Coffee Coop and scored 85.35. A robusta from Bolaven farms scored 84.31, according to the panel.
CQI suggested that people interested in acquiring coffees from the competition’s winning producers should reach out to Winrock’s Alex Dahan at [email protected].