Three growers from Colombia will compete in New York in October in a competition arranged by Italian coffee giant Illy to determine whose beans are the “best of the best.”
The honor, known as the Ernesto Illy International Coffee Award (EIICA), is now in its third year and pit growers from nine different finalist countries against one another. Three growers will represent each of Colombia, Brazil, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Guatemala, India, Nicaragua, and Rwanda.
The competition will begin at the United Nations headquarters, where a jury of experts will judge three preparation types — espresso, drip, and cold brew — brewed with each growers’ beans to and narrow down the field to just nine finalist growers.
The “best of the best” winner will then be announced later that night during a ceremony at the world-famous Rockefeller Center. A “Coffee Lovers’ Choice” award will also be handed out at the event to the grower whose beans were preferred by consumer voters in a blind taste test that will be carried out in various locations across the world.
Last year’s top-prize winner of the Ernesto Illy International Coffee Award, Jose Diaz Enamorando of Finca Ojo de Agua, hailed from Honduras.
Teresa Ascanio Gutierrez of Cooperativa de Caficultores del Catatumbo Ltda was named the top Colombian grower in 2017.
Bibiana Inés Mena Criollo of Finca La Cumbre and Luisa Fernanda Trujillo Rodrígue of Plan Cafetero para Calidad y Sostenibilidad were the other two Colombians who participated in the competition last year.
“From the seed of an idea that my father planted in Brazil nearly 30 years ago has sprouted a movement to propagate sustainably grown, higher-quality coffee around the world, and with it, better recognition, knowledge, and well-being of growers – the most important stakeholders in all of coffee,” said Andrea Illy, chairman of illycaffè.
(Photo credit: Jared Wade)