Colombia Best Cup El Mirador
COLOMBIA BEST CUP
Last September, we were invited to attend the Colombia Best Cup Auction in Popayán, Colombia. Each year throughout harvest, Banexport cups over 1,000 microlots. These coffees are scored, logged, and then separated into larger Galopes (lower scoring, large lots), Regional Selects, and then Farm Selects. Each of these separations has a quality band they fall within, and naturally, some lots rise above. During harvest, the lots that merit a high score are separated and placed on the table to be cupped in the top 30 selections of Best Cup. Once these lots are selected, groups of roasters are invited by Cafe Imports to take part in a panel over a three-day cupping. After the top fifteen best scoring lots have been chosen, they delivered to Banexport over the harvest. Once these lots are cupped and scores deliberated, an auction takes place near downtown in Banexport.
It’s a surreal event, as all the top producers and green buyers ascend a stage in front of hundreds of cheering friends and family of the producers. One by one, each of the top fifteen lots appears on a giant screen along with an aggregated cup score. The bidding starts, and green buyers hastily check notes from the days of cupping leading up to the auction. Buyers bid head-to-head on their favorite lots as prices quickly ascend into the teens and even twenties. For the duration of the auction, we had our sites set on just two coffees, the #15 spot, as well as #4. During an earlier cupping, we had selected the #16 lot for purchase as well, as it just missed the cut of coffees included in the auction.
EL MIRADOR #16
This coffee is a selection we purchased that was just shy of making the top 15 in the Colombia Best Cup Auction. We cupped this coffee twice over two days, and each time it exhibited amazing flavor clarity and sweetness, scoring an 87 on the SCA cupping sheet. This seven bag lot is all Tabi variety, a Cenicafé cultivar that is a cross between Typica, Bourbon, and Timor. This variety is gaining popularity, since its 2002 release, due to its disease resistance and its ability to grow in high density. Roldelfi fermented this coffee for 42 hours after de-pulping. It was dried in a silo, due to the challenges of drying coffee in Colombia's humid mountains.
Wanna know more about how we brew? Then visit our brew methods page cause "this is how we brew it" (think Montell Jordan when reading that last part).
FILTER – Inverted AeroPress
30g Coffee : 120g Water 180°F
~1:10 Drain Time
- Invert AeroPress
- Add 120g water in ~10s
- Start timer and stir gently for 10s
- Cap filter, swirl and flip
- Plunge at 50s, for 20s
- ~1:10 Drain Time
- Dilute with 75g Water
This is a recipe developed by Tetsu Kasuya to win the 2015 Japan Brewers Cup. If you try this as a traditional pour over, then this, you will be surprised at the difference. This AeroPress recipe brings out that green apple, honey sweetness, and turns into creamy milk chocolate. This recipe is designed to “under-extract” by normal metrics, but the sweetness and balance are there. In traditional recipes, if the coffee drains too quickly, under-extracts, it will taste like tart green apple skins and cocoa powder. If the coffee drains too long, over-extracts, it will taste like an apple tart covered in unsweet cocoa powder, overpowering and drying.
ESPRESSO – Modbar EP
Brew Temp: 198°F, Line Pressure: ~3.5 bars, Max Pressure: 9 bars
Pressure Profile: 0 sec to 4 sec - line pressure, from 4 sec till done - 9 bars
19g in : 45g out @ 23s
We loved this coffee on espresso. Relatively simple to dial-in, expect a syrupy shot with green apply, 60% cacao dark chocolate and a long apple and chocolate finish. Not overly complex, but sweet and sippable. If this shot pulls too quickly, under-extracts, it is extremely sour and thick, but has no aftertaste. If this shot pulls too long, over-extracts, it is drying and nutty with lingering artificial apple flavor.
Colombia Colombia Best Cup El Mirador
This is a coffee we purchased through Banexport and Cafe Imports during the 2019 Colombia Best Cup Auction. We paid $4.50 EX-warehouse for this coffee, purchasing seven 70-kilo bags of this coffee. We scored it at 87 points during the auction cuppings.
- The Coffee Commodity purchase price was $1.14/lb when we purchased this coffee.
- The Fair Trade Coffee minimum price was $1.60/lb when we purchased this coffee.
* We as a company believe transparency is unbelievably important. However, we decided only to list what is shown here because we don’t know where to stop. Do we list the amount of coffee lost in roasting due to moisture loss? Should we list our roaster Mark's salary? The warehouse rent? The utilities? The point of listing things above is not to justify what we charge or what we profit, but to give a realistic snapshot of the industry and how Specialty Coffee can be different than other commodity industries. If you have concerns feel free to email us and I’ll write you back when I’m available.
Relationship Coffee is an initiative we, at Onyx, have purposely created to describe our sourcing and buying practices and how we document them. Certifications like Direct Trade, Fair Trade, and others have impacted the coffee communities in mostly positive ways but also in some negative ways. We find that blanket terms and applying them to a multitude of business models no longer describes what we do.
In reality, every company is different, and we wanted to step out from the mold and create a new set of standards that exceeds in every department from quality to transparency to pricing. The growers, exporters, importers, associations, cooperatives, and other entities are always a set of relationships. To be honest, many are our friends as much as they are our producers and partners. We share information, family news, meals, housing, many faiths, and argue politics. Oh, and we love it. Relationship Coffee for Onyx is the mark of an honest exchange ethos that permeates our company, and we hope it encourages the growth of specialty coffee for the future.
We visited the farm or cupping lab and listened to the producer/agronomist or head cooperative/association to ascertain better knowledge about the culture and practices.
We cupped the coffee, and it scored to our industry-high standards.
We do not buy futures or multiple harvests to ensure that what we cupped for that year is what we serve.
We do not ask for exclusivity from producers, binding their options.
We pay what the coffee is worth. This always is at least double Fair Trade minimum due to the quality we buy, and many times is three to ten times the amount.
We do not finance any coffee. Cash flow is just as important as the final price. Coffee is paid in full upon delivery, and we pay a percentage upfront upon contracting.
We are completely transparent from price to logistics to cupping score, to who we work with buying and shipping coffee.
We work to set premiums after a contracted price to incentivize quality and community building. This can be .10¢ - .25¢ extra per pound or community projects such as school supplies in the growing village, sports jerseys, vented chimneys for kitchen fires, etc.