Guatemala Cup of Excellence 2006 & Guatemala Travels

Coffee tasting trips and harvest-oriented trips don’t really line up. That didn’t stop me from trying.

This was an extended trip, the last of coffee competitions for 2006  I judged, and a lot of time away from home. These kinds of trips are odd, because when it’s time to taste coffees, the harvest is finished. On the farm there is not a lot to see. I went anyway…

A Little Story: Coffee Travelers Lament – Part 1

I bought a pair of Ray-ban sunglasses at Costco. I went on a trip to El Salvador and to Guatemala to cup coffees. The chances of returning with Costco Ray-bans still in my possession were slim. I am resigned to this: spend money on decent sunglasses and you will invariably lose them. Pay a few bucks for trashy ones, and when you lose them, you won’t even stop to care.

But here I lie at the rustic and remote Crowne Plaza in Guatemala City, the last night of the 2-week excursion, and there I see a pair of Ray-bans, slightly tweaked. Dreams come true!

Did you ever wish for something you never really wanted and then you got it and realized that you are crazy not to want it, so basically, you are nuts. Well, that’s the kind of problem you can hash out in between cupping sessions because while you actually taste coffee there is little computing power to spare. The fact is, what dogs do effortlessly, process sensory input, and takes every anemic little brain cell I have. You ask yourself over and over “I know that! What is that? I can’t remember. It’s so familiar. What the hell is that?” You may also wander a bit and wonder where you are, how you got here, and what exactly ARE you doing anyway. And those questions might be easier to answer than the task at hand.

Anyway, much underwear is knotted up over this coffee tasting stuff (woe to the inspector who opens this coffee tasters suitcase).

Traveling is recognition of outsider-ness. I am an out-of-towner. I am an alien. I wish I could understand. I am reading all of the clues. There seems to be so many signs, telling me, but really there is a silence everywhere. What does it mean to photograph all these small businesses,  stalls, carts, decipher their signs, see what they offer, how they offer it. It is certainly the most accessible signifier for the out-of-towner. But it says little. I am like a foreign part, something extraneous from another machine. This machine makes no sense. Incompatible technologies. My machine is just an overrepresented culture. They have heard of it too, and they don’t get it.

Coffee Travelers Lament:
Part 2, El Salvador

-El Salvador – I am not quite sure what it means to travel “internationally” anymore. When you leave the airport and see Holiday Inns, Intercontinentals, KFCs, Cinnabon, Taco Bell, Burger King, and of course McDonalds … well, where are you?

I guess that is why I seek out everything anachronistic, all the hand painted signs for incomprehensible businesses. They make me happy, they make me feel I am somewhere else. I was trying to explain to a couple fellow coffee judges why my iPod music playlist when I travel contains no marimba music, no native flutes, no samba, no salsa .

No, I listen to Iron Maiden and old Metallica, Pipe Organ Musciale and Private Press Lounge Singers from the ‘60s, Califiornia Hot Rod and Surf, and a million unknown Japanese bands.

Why? For the same reason; I feel like an alien, and that I don’t belong. What is wrong with being from a different culture, asking for help because you don’t understand (or at last asking for someone to speak Spanish more slowly).

Why should people speak English to me when I want to learn better Spanish anyway, Because I am afraid of a place where I am not in charge, where I can’t go anywhere and order a double raspberry latte or  find the nearest Gap?

Well, Latin America is becoming that place too and I only hope it is because the people genuinely want that. Otherwise, there is something sad about all these new sub developments, and malls. Still I must say, the French fries at a Guatemalan McDonalds kick ass (they use real lard to fry them).

Sorry for the lament. Let’s move on.

Winning Farms 2006 Cup of Excellence -Guatemala

Lot #         Farm         Farmer         Score         Lot Size*

  • 1         El Injerto 1          El Injerto, S. A.          92.57         16
  • 2         La Merced          Finca La Merced, S. A.          91.07         20
  • 3         Asturias          Plant. Asturias, S. A.          90.45         13
  • 4         La Perla Y Anexos          Finca La Perla Y Anexos, S. A.          90.43         17
  • 5         Las Nubes          Diez De Mayo, S. A.          90.19         13
  • 6         Carmona          Carmona, S. A.          89.80         15
  • 7         El Potrerito          Lima Rosales, Elmer          89.32         13
  • 8         La Soledad Y Anexo          Perez Melendez, Enio Raul          89.18         13
  • 9         Carlos          Morales Alvarado, Carlos          88.55         15
  • 10         Valparaiso          Perez Lima, Ernesto          85.45         15
  • 11         Los Quequezques          Agroind. Magna, S. A.          87.09         20
  • 12         Viviano          Gutierrez Vasquez, Viviano          86.91         15
  • 13         Pachujul          Ramirez Yataz, Jose          86.27         15
  • 14         El Bosque De San Gerardo          Inversiones Estrategicas, S. A.          85.36         16
  • 15         La Labor Y Anexo          Empresa Rancho Dulce, S. A.          85.34         21
  • 16         Chichupac          Asociacion C. De Estudios E Inv. P. El D. Y La Paz          85.30         16
  • 17         El Platanar Y Anexo          De La Roca Perez, Hector          85.23         14
  • 18         Daniel          Morales Alvarado, Daniel          85.11         19
  • 19         Santa Isabel Y Anexos          Jinaya, S. A.          85.07         15
  • 20         Asoc. De Caficultores De San Cristobal Y Tamahu          Actasa          84.50         16
  • 21         Retana Y Anexos          Finca Retana Y Anexos, S. A.          84.45         13
  • 22         San Jorge          Lemus Pineda, Tulio          84.41         21
  • 23         El Retiro          Finca El Retiro Del Quisaya, S. A.          84.11         20
  • 24         San Rafael Urias Valdes          Valdes Salvatierra, Hnos.          84.09         17
  • 25         El Bosque Y Anexo          Diaz Schwarz, Roberto          84.09         15

International Coffee Cuppers for Guatemala 2006

  • Head Judge
  • Paul Songer          USA          ACE
  • North America
  • Christy Thorns          USA          Allegro Coffee Co.
  • Vincent Iatesta          USA          Caffe Pronto
  • Katie Downey          USA          Port City Java
  • Jason Long          USA          Café Imports
  • Peter Lynagh          USA          Terroir Coffee
  • Tim Hunter          USA          Olympia Coffee Co.
  • Tom Owen          USA          Sweet Maria’s Coffee
  • Geoff Watts          USA          Intelligentsia
  • Duane Sorenson          USA          Stumptown
  • Europe
  • Thomas Stehl          Germany          Rehm & Company
  • Mirella Cielek          Germany          InterAmerican Coffee
  • Robert Thoreson          Norway          Kaffa AS, Oslo
  • Jan Schuitemaker          Netherlands          de Mélangerie
  • Tineke Jansen          Netherlands          De Eenhoorn koffie en thee
  • Stephen Hurst          UK          Mercanta The Coffee Hunters
  • Asia
  • Kentaro Maruyama          Japan          Maruyama Coffee
  • Keita Matsumoto          Japan          Wataru & Co., Ltd.
  • Yoshihito Kato          Japan          Bontain Coffee Co., Ltd.
  • Masahisa Asano          Japan          TOA Coffee., Ltd.
  • Hidetaka Hayashi          Japan          Hayashi Coffee Institute
  • Leah Warren          Malaysia          San Francisco Coffee
  • Observers
  • Vladamir Savinov          UK          SFT Trading Ltd.
  • Tatsuya Inoue           Japan          Voila Coffee/Inoue Coffee Corp.

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