Brazil's Cup of Excellence Competition – World Class Farming
The Cup of Excellence award ceremony in Machado, Brazil was preceded by an opportunity to sit down with some of the finalist farmers that had traveled to the competition site.
I always enjoy these round-table discussions with the farmers. Often (I’m thinking of the sessions I’ve attended in Rwanda and Bolivia) they are first time that many of the coffee farmers have had an opportunity to meet with someone who roasts their coffee. Many of the farmers in these remote regions are dressed up in their best clothes – men in their nicest shirts and ties, looking as uncomfortable as a farmer from anywhere in the world would who has to dress up, and women in seldom-worn special dresses with jewelry and nice shoes that are reserved for very rare special events. The farmers in Brazil, however, being from a much more advanced nation, were well educated and well turned-out – looking much better, in fact, than most of us scruffy coffee cuppers.
The conversation and questions from the Brazilian farmers were very sophisticated, and demonstrated the expertise in their farming that had earned them their places in the competition. I was really impressed by the farmers I spoke with, including Sr. José Roberto Canato of Fazenda Monte Verde outside of Carmo de Minas, MG, who turned out to be the fourth place COE finisher announced in the evening’s award ceremony. I also greatly enjoyed conversing with Sr. Tulio Junqueira, owner of the beautiful Carmo Estate fazenda located in the rolling countryside outside of Pouso Alegre, MG, a couple of hour’s drive from Machado. Tulio is the head of the Brazilian Specialty Coffee Association (“BSCA”), one of the sponsors of the Brazilian Cup of Excellence competitions, and serves on the board of directors of The Association for Coffee Excellence (“ACE”), the U.S.-based organization that founded and runs the Cup of Excellence program around the world.