Cup of Excellence Holds First-Ever Peru Competition

Five lots score 90+ in the debut Cup of Excellence competition for the South American nation.


Photos courtesy of the Alliance for Coffee Excellence

Cup of Excellence is known for its competitions around the world celebrating farmer excellence and discovering beautiful coffees. These have taken place everywhere from Mexico and many Central and South American countries to African nations like Burundi and Rwanda.

Amazingly, though, there had never been a Cup of Excellence competition in Peru, the South American country that ranks 11th in global coffee production. That changed earlier this month, when the Alliance for Coffee Excellence (ACE)—the nonprofit organization that operates Cup of Excellence—finally brought the competition to Peru, kicking off September 14.

Peru hosted its first Cup of Excellence competition this month.

Farmers from seven growing regions submitted over 300 samples, which the national jury narrowed down to 35 coffees for the international jury to analyze. From those coffees 19 winners were selected, with an impressive five lots receiving the Presidential Award given to coffees scoring 90 points or above. ACE Executive Director Darrin Daniel says he was pleasantly surprised by “the overall quality of the entire top 10. The 10th spot was at 88+. This by far exceeded what we expected for this year.” Wendy DeJong, head buyer of Australian roaster Single 0 and a judge for the competition, further validated the quality of the coffees; in a press release for the event she commented: “The best top 10 table I have ever cupped.”

The coffees at the competition performed exceptionally well, with five lots scoring over 90 points. Juan Heredia Sanchez grew the winning coffee, which was scored at 92.25.

The top three finishers hailed from the Cajamarca region located in Peru’s northern highlands. Juan Heredia Sanchez’s first-place coffee from Finca La Flor scored 92.25, followed by Efrain Carhuallocllo Salvador’s 90.61-scoring lot from Finca El Cerro and Fredy Bermeo Guevara’s 90.48 from Finca San Pedro. “With this Cup of Excellence competition, we can make improvements on our farm and also help our family to make improvements,” said Fredy at the event’s awards ceremony. “ We are grateful for this; we know this will help us [to] be a better producer.”

Peru COE winners hailed from the regions of Cajamarca, Junin, Cusco, Amazonas, and San Martin.

For the Alliance for Coffee Excellence, this event was long in the making. In the organization’s September newsletter, ACE Founder Susie Spindler detailed a visit to Peru in 2001 with fellow ACE originator George Howell in which they tasted beautiful coffees, but due to lack of farm identification, were unable to single them out and recognize the farmers. “For over 15 years, it has been my dream that eventually Cup of Excellence could come to Peru and begin the process of discovering the qualities and the farmers that have long been hidden,” Susie said in the press release for the event. With the help of the Government of Peru’s Ministry of Agriculture and Production as well as other partners, the competition was finally able to come to life.

COE organizers say they had a dream of hosting the competition in Peru for 15 years; this month it finally became a reality.

The live auction for the winning Peru lots will taken place October 25 at the ACE website. And looking forward, Darrin says the next Peru COE is in the works. “Plans are already underway for an early October event next year,” he says. “There has been some discussion of holding the event in the region of Cusco. We are looking into sites and exploring 2018 with excitement, and we hope to build on what we were able to achieve with this first year of the event.”

For more on the Peru Cup of Excellence winners and upcoming competitions and auctions, visit ACE’s website.

About Chris Ryan 262 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.