Cup of Excellence Crowns 2021 Winners in Mexico & Guatemala

A set of five glass octagonal trophies sit on a table.

Natural and washed Geshas, previously unheralded coffee-producing areas, and more provided the winners at the two recent coffee-quality competitions. 

BY CHRIS RYAN
BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE

Photos courtesy of Alliance for Coffee Excellence

Cup of Excellence (CoE), the competition organized by nonprofit organization Alliance for Coffee Excellence (ACE), recently awarded coffee producers in Mexico and Guatemala in their respective countries for high-quality coffees. The winning coffees from these latest competitions for both countries will be auctioned this month. 

A man stands in front of coffee cherry beds. He has a baseball cap and a beard.
Cruz Jose Arguello Enrique of Finca Santa Cruz in La Concordia, Chiapas, was the first-place winner at the 2021 Mexico Cup of Excellence.

Winners for the 2021 Mexico Cup of Excellence were announced at a virtual ceremony on June 4, with notable results including four Presidential Award winners (for coffees scoring 90 points or higher), a wide range of coffees representing 12 varieties and 11 blended lot winners, and 11 first-time CoE winners. ACE partnered with the Mexican Association of the Coffee Production Chain for the event. 

The first-place winner for the 2021 CoE Mexico was Cruz Jose Arguello Enriquez, whose natural Gesha from Finca Santa Cruz in La Concordia, Chiapas, scored 91.58 points. Cruz was a repeat CoE winner, having earned first place—and another Presidential Award—at the 2019 CoE Mexico. 

“We are very excited and happy to have achieved these results,” says Cruz in a press release from ACE. “In 2019 our main objective as Finca Santa Cruz was to demonstrate the quality that the farm could offer. This year the challenge was even greater: to maintain that quality and consistency. We are achieving it and the Finca Santa Cruz team is very happy.” 

Another natural Gesha, from Silvia Carolina Herrera Hernandez of the San Luis farm in Ocozocoautla De Espinosa, Chiapas, earned second place with a score of 90.25. Third place at the Mexico CoE went to Clímaco Cruz Cruz of the La Teja farm in Almoloya de Alquisiras in Mexico State, whose washed Typica and Caturra earned 90.19 points. 

Darrin Daniel (he/him), executive director of the Alliance for Coffee Excellence, says one notable development at the 2021 Mexico CoE was the success of coffees from different areas of the country. “It really comes down to the new regions of Guerrero, Puebla, and the regions that are not traditionally recognized as being specialty-coffee regions,” Darrin says. Coffees from Guerrero placed 10th and 19th among the 30 CoE Mexico winners, while coffees from the Puebla municipality earned sixth, seventh, ninth, 11th, 15th, and 27th places. 

Cup of Excellence winners stand smiling on a screen on video. The flag of Mexico is behind them.
Members of the national jury cup coffees at the international stage of the 2021 Mexico Cup of Excellence.

Also important to Darrin was the competition’s return to Mexico after not holding the CoE there in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “For CoE, starting back after COVID-19 has been very important for not only our organization, but for the producers who have been scrambling to move beyond the pandemic and see further stability in a somewhat chaotic market,” he says. “We are delighted to be back in México and our partnership there is special, and we know the specialty industry looks to CoE to create a platform in which to further the growth of countries such as México.”

The 2021 Mexico Cup of Excellence auction takes place July 15. For more information on the auction and the complete list of winning coffees, head here

Later in June, ACE hosted the 2021 Guatemala Cup of Excellence, which awarded four Presidential Awards and 28 overall winners using nine different varieties. The Alliance for Coffee Excellence partnered with Guatemala’s national coffee association Anacafé for the event. 

A group stands together smiling while judging coffees.
Jurors awarded 28 winning coffees at the 2021 Guatemala CoE, all scoring over 87 points.

The first-place winner at the 2021 Guatemala CoE was El Injerto I from La Libertad, Huehuetenango, with 90.51 points; their washed Gesha earned a score of 90.51. El Injerto is no stranger to CoE success: The farm has placed in the top five of CoE Guatemala 14 times, with nine first-place finishes and nine Presidential Awards.

“We are so happy and proud of the award we have received; this is an award for all coffee producers in Guatemala and of course an award for our entire team and their hard work, from those who plant, pick, and process to those who serve the coffee in the coffee shops,” said Paulina Aguirre, representative from Finca El Injerto I.

Second place at the 2021 Guatemala CoE went to El Socorro from Palencia, Guatemala, with their washed Gesha that scored 90.10 points, while another washed Gesha—from Fredy Milton Morales Merida’s Rosma farm located in San Pedro Nécta, Huehuetenango—earned third place with 90.03.

Three people stand in front of a cup of excellence banner wearing face masks and holding their certificate that they won.
El Injerto I won first place at the 2021 Guatemala CoE, the ninth CoE Presidential Award for the farm.

This year’s Guatemala CoE received 175 coffee samples—17% more than the previous year, in which 149 samples were submitted. Says Darrin of ACE, “The higher amount of submitted samples to me (especially during the pandemic) means that the auction is a viable form of accelerating coffee sales in and outside of the auction itself; this is what we always have aspired towards.”

The auction for the 2021 Guatemala Cup of Excellence will be July 27. More on the auction and the full list of winning coffees can be found here

About Chris Ryan 236 Articles
Chris Ryan (he/him) is Barista Magazine's online copy editor and a freelance writer and editor with a background in the specialty coffee industry. He has been content director of Sustainable Harvest and the editor of Fresh Cup Magazine.