La Lucha is a silent auction hosted by Sustainable Harvest taking place April 20-21 at SCA. Buyers will bid on coffees scoring 86 points or higher from growers who have scored high on the B Corporation’s assessment of impact and sustainability.
BY CHRIS RYAN
BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE
Photos courtesy of Sustainable Harvest Coffee Importers
The Specialty Coffee Expo offers attendees a little bit of everything, but perhaps two of the most appealing opportunities the show provides are experiencing amazing-quality coffees and connecting with coffee growers from different parts of the world.
Both of these opportunities will be in play at the La Lucha silent auction, an event from Sustainable Harvest Coffee Importers taking place April 20-21 during Expo in Seattle. La Lucha is Sustainable Harvest’s first-ever silent auction, and it will present micro-lots scoring 86 points or higher from a select group of dedicated producers in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Colombia.
“La lucha,” which translates from Spanish to “the fight,” is used as a colloquial expression in Spanish to indicate the daily struggle to persevere in spite of difficult challenges. “The term applies quite well to the coffee trade,” says Jorge Cuevas, chief coffee officer of Sustainable Harvest. “Coffee producers work tirelessly to achieve the best quality they can. On the other end of the chain, roasters put their all into carefully sourcing and roasting the best coffees. So the name ‘La Lucha’ really honors both parties and their dedication to quality.”
The coffee growers themselves selected the coffees for the La Lucha auction; the coffees then went through a round of screening and selection by Q Grader cuppers at Sustainable Harvest®’s origin offices. A second, final round of screening by a group of Q Graders and roaster judges took place on April 16 at Sustainable Harvest’s headquarters in Portland. The cupping was led by Sherri Johns, 14-year head judge of Cup of Excellence.
In addition to the coffees being high in quality, they are also high in impact. Sustainable Harvest is a certified B Corporation, and every producer participating in the auction took the B Corp’s B Impact Assessment to benchmark their impact and sustainability. To be eligible for the auction, they had to achieve a minimum 80-point score on the assessment. “All our producer partners meet our high standards before we start working with them,” says Jorge, “but the assessment is a great tool to show the power of these organizations and the high business practices they follow.”
The auction takes place April 20-21 in Room 201 of the Washington State Convention Center. There will be two sessions for cupping and silent bidding—12 p.m. Friday, April 20, and 3 p.m. Saturday, April 21. (The sessions will feature the same coffees so buyers only need to attend one.) Sustainable Harvest will hold an awards ceremony at 4 p.m. April 21 to announce the winning bids and celebrate the growers in attendance.
The opening price for each lot will be $5 per pound. Producers will receive 90 percent of the revenue from the final sale price, with the remaining 10 percent covering auction management and importing costs. “These are some really special coffees from gifted producers who put their all into growing them,” says Jorge. “I can’t wait for everyone to try them.”
For more information on the La Lucha auction and to RSVP to attend the event, check out the La Lucha website here.