A coffee grower from Colombia’s Tolima region set a new price record at this year’s annual specialty coffee summit in Bogotá, hauling in $50.50 USD per pound at auction for his best-in-class beans.
Despite going up against some 25 other premium coffee producers at ExpoEspeciales 2016, José Anargel Rodríguez of Morro Azul in China Alta, near the city of Ibague, was able to outdo them all and wow the international buyers in attendance.
Dai Wei, a Chinese buyer from the company Shanghai Mellower fell in love with the coffee. He said that, because this was the best Colombia had to offer, he was “willing to pay whatever it took.”
Anargel not only won over bidders but took first place in two taste competition categories, beating out all comers for the best exotic coffee and coffee with the best acidity notes. These awards gave him a combined 50 million pesos, or almost $17,000 USD, in addition to his auction profits.
Other Top Coffee Producers
Other top-rate coffees at the auction came from Cauca, Cundinamarca, Huila, Nariño, and Tolima, which combined to average sales of $10.86 USD per pound in the auction.
María del Carmen Melo, from the town of Consacá in Nariño, placed second with a price of $30.50 USD per pound. Her coffee also won on taste for the best balance, which gave her another 25 million pesos ($8,500 USD).
Diomedes Bolaños Iles from Balboa in Cauca produced the coffee that won for best body, while the beans grown by Luis Alejandro Munoz of Planadas in Tolima won for softness. Each were awarded 25 million pesos ($8,500 USD). The winner for the best coffee farm, in the large lot category, was Carlos Alberto Eraso of La Union in Nariño.
Colombia’s Best Barista
Diego Fernando Campos of the Bogotá-based cafe Amor Perfecto was once again named Colombia’s best barista. The competition, now in its 11th year, forces coffee masters to excel in both speed and quality, and Campos, at just 25 years old, has proven to have no trouble with either.
Campos became national champ for the second time by preparing four espressos, four coffee-infused drinks, and four signature concoctions in 12 minutes. The four judges — who get one of each — then taste the offerings and assess the product on their scorecards.
The Tolima native who now lives in Bogotá will now head to Seoul in South Korea to represent Colombia in the world championship, as he did in Seattle in 2015. Though the Amor Perfecto barista did not get a perfect score, his showing was good enough to reclaim the title — and Campos will try to do the same against the globe’s best at the World Barista Championship in November 2017.
Colombia’s Best Coffee Taster
Eduardo Armero, a coffee grower and taster from AsproUnión (Asociación de Productores de La Unión) in Nariño, won first place among coffee tasters. He will head to Budapest, Hungary next year to represent Colombia in the world championship.
This is Armero’s second time winning the title, last taking the championship in 2010. The now-33-year-old won in a landslide this time around and brought his daughter out to help celebrate the victory.
Coffee Summit of Success
In addition to handing out prizes and facilitating the show-stopping auction, this year’s ExpoEspeciales won big itself. Hailed as Latin America’s most important coffee fair, the show welcomed nearly 14,000 producers, buyers, exhibitors, and attendees from all over the world to Corferias conference hall in the capital to do business, show off their beans, taste the nation’s best coffee, or just drink in the drama of the competition.
ExpoEspeciales is organized by the Colombian Coffee Grower Federation, whose world-famous Juan Valdez logo is the symbol of the non-profit association that represents the thousands of small coffee farmers in the nation. Corferias, the better known name of the Bogota International Business and Exhibitions Center, served as co-organizer.