cupping extravaganza April 16 2013

I was thrilled to be invited to Hacienda El Robles' 3rd anual Cupping Extravaganza.

Hacienda El Roble is a 300 hectare organic coffee farm in Bucaramunga, Colombia, they have over one million coffee shrubs under a canopy of shade trees & the reason I went there, they have a varietal garden with a collection of 72 different varieties of coffee, which is unheard of outside of coffee research facilities.

Oswaldo Acevedo, the owner along with high end Colombian coffee exporter Virmax assembled a team of fifteen cuppers from USA, Australia, Korea, Norway, Hong Kong & New Zealand.

We had 4 blind cuppings to cup the 42 coffees, the wonderful thing was all these coffees had grown in the same soil, they had all been harvested at perfect ripeness then they were all pulped, fermented & dried in exactly the same way, so we were only tasting the coffee variety, not the difference in terroir or the process.

Although not all 42 coffees were good, there were some truly great coffees on the table, some of the best I've ever had, Geisha A {plum, rose petal, jasmin,honey}, Chinchina 21 {butter, lemon, raspberry, red fruit}, HR-61 {floral, bergamont, coffee flower, ginger, apricot} & my favourite H-1 {floral, strawberry, apricot, pineapple, hibiscus, orange, passionfruit}.

We were also given a very interesting coffee history & genetics lesson from Dr Hernando Cortina from Cenicafe {Colombian National Centre for Coffee Research}.

Hernando then showed us around the coffee garden, pointing out the differences in the plants, their various, heights, leaf colourings, showing us how to tell the difference between a Bourbon &  Typica or Caturra & Catuai.

The farm was in the middle of harvest so there was still coffee being dried in the parabolic dryer, lots of cherry still being harvested & processed.

"sorting out any unripe coffee cherries"

"weighing coffee"

"pulping coffee"

"coffee drying"

"coffee resting"

Oh, & while I was there I brought some El Roble Wush Wush from Oswaldo, watch out for it on the shelves in June.