Fairtrade’s award-winning coffees showcased at global event

After gaining recognition at its global competition, Fairtrade’s highest quality coffees will be showcased at the SCA World Coffee event in Milan 2022 (23-25th June) to celebrate the achievements of co-operatives.

Micro-lot coffees which score the highest results on the Specialty Coffee Association (SCAA) ratings are selected as winners of Fairtrade’s Golden Cup’ (also known as Taza Dorada in Spanish and Kombe la Dhahabu in Swahili), with this year’s award-winning co-operatives from 2022 outlined below. The competitions are developed and run by Fairtrade Producer networks, across Latin America and the Caribbean (CLAC) and Fairtrade Africa, with support from colleagues and organisations based in the participating countries.

Many of the winning organisations have received support from the producer networks to improve the quality of their coffees, by adopting different processes such as natural washes, honey processing and anaerobic fermentation to bring out different flavours.

Following the competition, as a prize for the winning co-operatives, samples are presented to buyers, exporters and roasters at events like Milan and the Boston Specialty Coffee Expo 2022 (held in April) which was attended by 10,000 people across the industry and can lead to the coffees being sold in international markets.

Fairtrade Producer Network the CLAC’s new Coffee Manager Paulo Ferreira will be at the event to talk about the many additional social, sustainable and ethical benefits of its coffees. He is also speaking on a panel organised by DR Wakefield, which sources many Fairtrade-certified coffees.

Ed Harvey, Fundraising Officer, the Fairtrade Foundation, says: “These events allow us to showcase the full range of unique flavours from specialty coffees produced on micro-lots. But growing top quality coffee requires both new skills and investment in professional laboratories, fertilisation, and technical assistance for farmers – which take time and the guarantee of sales. That’s why we encourage businesses to source Fairtrade and establish long-term trading relationships that enable producers to improve their production, ensure environmental best practice and community development.” 

9 June, Rwanda

Held in Kigali, the second ‘Kombe la Dhahabu’ event attracted 38 samples in total, with Fairtrade producer organisations in Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo as well as Rwanda taking part. It saw Bwishaza Coffee Cooperative take the winning and runner up position with a cupping score of 89.50 for two of its samples. Aimable Nshimiye, Managing Director of Abateraninkunga ba sholi, which took the second place for its unwashed and washed coffee scoring 88.83, said that they consistently track the quality of its coffees using a coffee cupping lab within their factory. He added: “We know what the export requirements are so we run our business professionally. We invest in our farmers.”

1-4 June, Mexico

Held at San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, the event tested samples from 14 co-operatives and The San Fernando co-operative won first place for micro and macro lot Arabica entries this year. The event took place against the backdrop of Hurricane Agatha but fortunately none of the participating producers were affected this time, however farmers are increasingly facing crop losses from plant diseases like ‘La Roya’ which is caused by the Climate Crisis. One of the participants, Alejandra Gurgóa Ruiz, a coffee farmer and cupper from the Comon Yaj Noptic co-operative said that in addition to growing healthy beans that end in a high-quality cup, adopting methods to protect farms from climate-related farming problems is another key benefit of Fairtrade. “Having these kinds of certifications which help you to care for the land, as well as care for the animals,” she says enabling this investment in farming is vital so that coffee production “is sustainable and mindful of the environment.”

9 May/April 2022, El Salvador

Hosted by Cooperativa Los Pinos, two samples of micro-lot coffees of Pacamara and Bourbon varieties from the co-operative San Carlos Dos, ACOPACACHI co-operative and ATASISI co-operative won first, second and third place in the fifth edition of Golden Cup 2022 in El Salvador after co-operatives took part in training and workshops led by the CLAC on quality, including anaerobic fermentation processes, in early 2022.

“They [CLAC] help us a lot in the training. They prepare the teams of the coffee producers to do better processes and also motivate us with the awards to be able to move forward and continue fighting to get first place again next year” said Nery Sánchez, after the cooperative San Carlos Dos received the accolade.

19-21 April, Costa Rica

Held at the Costa Rican Coffee Institute, the Costa Rica Golden Cup competition 2022 crowned COOPEVICTORIA as the winner of the speciality competition, with a score of 89.75.  The co-operative COOPEAGRI came in second and third place, respectively, with scores of 88.15 and 88 for their anaerobic and natural coffee samples.

4-6 April 2022, Ethiopia

Kata Muduga Multipurpose Farmers’ Cooperative Union and Yirgacheffe Coffee Farmers’ Cooperative Union took first and second for their Herloom coffees at the Ethiopian competition, named Kombe la Dhahabu, (‘Golden Cup’ in Swahili), which brought together seven Fairtrade co-operatives who presented 20 samples of washed and unwashed coffees.

Getahun Gebrekidan, Regional Programme Manager for Coffee, Fairtrade Africa said they led from the CLAC events and that holding this competition is important: “to ensure sustainability in terms of production and also in terms of the market… so at the end we achieve high sales for our producers in turn they will improve their life and livelihood.”

The competition aims to generate new marketing opportunities for producer organisations and establish a culture of specialty coffee production. Kombe la Dhahabu is now an annual event occurring one month after their main coffee harvest season, this was its second year in Ethiopia and is organised by Fairtrade Africa – Eastern and Central Africa Network in collaboration with partners.

1 April 2022, Nicaragua

Members of Cooperativa 5 de Junio and Soppexcca were the winners out of 24 participating micro-lots from 13 small producer organisations were both Parainema varieties, with notes of Jasmine, citrus, caramel and hibiscus tea. The event took place between March 31 and April 1, 2022 and was the sixth Fairtrade Specialty Coffee Competition in Nicaragua. The first six places achieved cup scores between 87.71 – 86.17 range (SCAA) ratings.

After taking first place Melba López Vanegas, a member of Cooperativa 5 de junio, said: “To have a good coffee you have to give it maintenance and use organic products; in the cooperative, they advise us on what we need… We work on the farm with my children and my husband, we feel happy and enjoy ourselves.”

21-22 March 22, Guatemala

Held at PRISMA COFFEE headquarters, producer representatives and tasters from seven organizations met. Six micro-lots of 16 samples, obtained scores of 85 or more points on the SCA scale. Eduardo Ambrocio, the lead judge, highlighted the diversity of the level of quality and in his words “it is always a delight to taste coffees that compete, the effort is reflected.” The winning organizations visited Boston for the SCA coffee event, representing more than 3,350 producers from the Southwest and Northwest regions of Guatemala.

The FECCEG taster, Denis López Velásquez, mentioned “producers are happy to know that their coffee won an award and they are motivated… thanks to CLAC this event was held, which drives us to continue improving quality.”

notes to editors

About the Golden Cup

The Golden Cup is an annual competition which takes place in Fairtrade coffee producing origins. The competition judges and scores speciality coffee that is produced by Fairtrade cooperatives. The speciality coffee is cupped, judged and scored for quality on a 100-point scale. The cupping process is done by Q Graders, with cups above 85 selected as speciality (Speciality Coffee Association).  

The winners of the national competitions are recognised with an award and featured at cupping sessions organised by Fairtrade at speciality coffee trade shows. Winning samples have also been taken to international trade shows, including the Speciality Coffee Expo (USA) and World of Coffee (Europe). The aim of the Golden Cup is to generate new market opportunities for producer organisations and to establish a wider culture of quality coffee production.  

The Fairtrade system invests improving the quality of coffee production, through both the Fairtrade premium and additional projects. Fairtrade’s Producer Networks deliver training programmes that includes topics such as best practice in production, harvest and coffee processing, as well as cupping sessions, which teach producers and cooperative staff to assess the quality of their coffees.

Picture caption: Winners Josue Imanikuzwe, Chairperson, Bwishaza Coffee Cooperative and Amiable Nshimiye, Managing Director, Abateraninkunga ba sholi cooperative are the winners of Rwanda Kombe la Dhahabu Fairtrade coffee quality contest held in Kigali 9 June 2022.

For further photos, information or interview requests contact Susannah Henty, susannah.henty@fairtrade.org.uk or via telephone on +44 (0)207 440 8588