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Regional Golden Cup competition awards the best Fairtrade coffees of Central America and Mexico

For the first time an edition of the Golden Cup quality coffee competition was held on a regional level with the participation of finalist coffees from Central America and Mexico.

A total of 46 coffee samples from Fairtrade certified cooperatives from six countries participated: Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Costa Rica and Mexico, which were finalists in the national competitions held in each country.

A total of 18 judges from consuming and origin countries gathered over two days at the headquarters of the CAFESCOR organization in Corquín, Honduras, to taste the finalist coffees of the national Golden Cup competitions.

“This event has been spectacular, we have found very high-quality coffees, excellent coffees, very clean, very well worked, that shows that the producers are doing a great job. What makes me happy is that it is not only one country, but we are talking about all Central America and Mexico, there are many countries, this means that coffee growing is improving a lot”, affirmed Jose Pablo Juarez Solis, international lead judge of the contest, who works with Zaza Coffee in the United States.

The Golden Cup competition was judged by a panel of judges who came from Canada, the United States, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, and from the countries in Central America and Mexico. Many of the judges are also buyers of Fairtrade coffee.

“This has been an incredible event, the Golden Cup. Just to see how much growth there’s been in the quality of each individual coffee we’ve tasted here, some outstanding ones. They’ve done an incredible job here, all the countries,” said Nelson Teskey, one of the judges from Swiss Water of Canada.

The competition allowed the judges to share experiences and meet Honduran coffee producers and their organizations. During their stay, the Q-graders also visited coffee farms in the Corquin area and the facilities of CAFESCOR, CAFICO and COCAFELOL.

“I am very happy to have the opportunity to represent Honduras on the jury and share this beautiful experience with everyone,” said Gabriela López from CAFESCOR.

The awards ceremony was held at the CAFESCOR warehouse and in some cases the judges representing the different countries received the awards on behalf of the winning organizations. In addition to the awards ceremony, during the day presentations were also made about the situation of the coffee market in different countries, among them Japan and Germany.

A decade of Golden Cups

CLAC began with Fairtrade coffee quality contests a decade ago in Brazil and Costa Rica. Over the years the competitions began to be held in other coffee producing countries, reaching 10 national competitions in 2023 in Latin America. The competition has also been promoted to other continents and is now also being held in 5 African countries.

“We wanted to demonstrate that Fairtrade is not only good and sustainable, but also quality. Ten years later we are achieving it, there are many buyers looking for Fairtrade specialty coffee because they already believe in the quality of coffee from small Fairtrade producers,” said Xiomara J. Paredes, CEO of CLAC.

“But we also wanted to show the whole world that small-scale producers’ organizations strive year after year to improve their harvest and post-harvest processes,” she added, noting that coffee quality averages are improving year after year.

Roberto Salazar, president of the CLAC coffee network and of the Honduran National Fair Trade Platform, said: “For us as the Honduran National Fair Trade Platform it is a great pleasure to be visited and to be the host of the first international Golden Cup in Honduras. It is an event that we have been accompanying and I believe that it will launch us internationally in the future”.

This edition of the Golden Cup of Central America and Mexico was organized by CLAC and the Honduran National Fair Trade Platform, with the sponsorship of CAFESCOR and Watertree.

The regional competition was divided into two categories: whole lots and microlots, with one winner per participating country.

Latin America currently produces 85% of the coffee sold under the Fairtrade seal worldwide.

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