There are a lot of things that get us excited about the Best Cup competitions, and of course what could be more exciting than the auction on the final day? Seeing the expressions of surprise and elation on the faces of the producers who represent the top 30 lots is an indescribable joy, and a real-time reminder of why we are passionate about coffee, and about building new platforms to showcase the very best coffees around the world.
It might seem surprising, but our other favorite thing about the Best Cup competitions actually has to do with the coffees that don’t make it to the winner’s circle—especially the ones who fall just short of reaching one of those coveted (but very limited) 30 spots. These coffees are still exceptional (most of them score between 86–88 points), and though they don’t have as bright a spotlight shone on them during the auction at the end of the week-long Best Cup event, we love to push them into a bright spot onstage after the chaos settles and the paddles are put down.
They also show an incredible amount of potential, and inspire us to continue to plan and execute these contests, which we’ll do as long as producers continue to submit their samples for review. (Remember there were more than 700 samples tendered for the Carmo Best Cup just this past fall, and a staggering percentage of those received cup scores in the high 80s.)
It’s a cliché to say that all the coffees in a Best Cup are winners, but that’s truly how we feel—so much so that we buy many of the lots from the 31–60 slots ourselves to offer as knockout single-origin spot Brazils at affordable prices to our customers who weren’t able to join us at the cupping table, competition, and auction. (If this sounds somewhat familiar, by the way, it’s because it’s very closely related with the overall philosophy we follow with regards to How We Buy Coffee.)
Since they didn’t claim the top spots in the contest, some of these special coffees wind up flying under the radar. We wanted to highlight a few of our favorites here, and can’t wait until Carmo Best Cup season comes back ‘round in the fall of 2018.