Astrid Medina, a 38-year-old Colombian coffee producer, has been awarded first place in Colombia’s 2015 Cup of Excellence (COE) competition, with a score of 90.2 points. The Colombian Coffee Growers Federation organised the competition in conjunction with the Alliance for Coffee Excellence, identifying the highest quality coffee amongst thousands of contenders. The winning coffee was grown on the Buenavista farm in the municipality of Planadas, in the Tolima Department of Colombia. Medina and the women in her family inherited the 15 hectares, 10 of which are growing coffee crops, from her husband’s father. Medina said she attributes the win to the fact that the mid-year harvest produces crops at both 1800 and almost 2000 meters in altitude. “We selected the best lots to make the blend with beans from different altitudes. We think that most of the coffee’s success is in the blend itself,” said Medina. Medina said there are also many people to thank for the quality-coffee produced on her farm. “It’s understanding between employees, pickers, the farm’s manager and owners,” she said. “If one of them was [out of sync], that would affect us all, but we speak the same language, we look for and achieve the same objective.” Medina acknowledged that environmental conditions had been favourable for her too. “The climate and soils are very healthy, the region is very new, we never do burns, we let organic material do its work and fertilise the soil when it decomposes. The water for the post-harvest processing is also very pure,” she said. After a domestic selection process, a group of 25 judges from countries including Australia, Canada, China and Japan evaluated and selected the samples without knowing their origin. The jury based its evaluation on quality criteria that included fragrance, aroma, acidity, sweetness, cleanness of the cup, flavour, mouth-feel, aftertaste and balance. The 31 lots that received more than 85 points on the Specialty Coffee Association of America scale will participate in an online auction on 23 April. Buyers from all around the globe will have the chance to bid for the best Colombian coffees. The auction can be followed at www.cupofexcellence.org.