Italian roaster illycaffè has announced Spirit of Peace Ex-Combatants of Asacafè as the Best of the Best at the fourth annual Ernesto Illy International Coffee Award, in New York City.
An independent jury of nine culinary and coffee connoisseurs from around the world gathered on 15 October for a series of blind coffee tastings, brewed individually from the harvests of 27 growers from nine countries, to determine the best bean of the 2018-19 season.
Producers from Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Nicaragua and Rwanda were recognised and celebrated in New York City for their sustainable quality.
“It is an honour and a pleasure to recognise Colombia, Spirit of Peace, and Asacafè for their achievement, as well as applaud all of our finalists who are focused on producing the highest-quality coffee through sustainable methods,” says Andrea Illy, Chairman of illycaffè.
“This award celebrates and honours the Spirit of Peace project, that we supported since the very beginning, with the aim to give a chance to the rural Colombian community of coffee to become the engine of a bigger transformation through the economic reintegration of the ex-combatants and their victims in the Cauca region.”
The Ernesto Illy International Coffee Award, named after illycaffè’s second-generation leader, celebrates the company’s work with farmers. The growers in attendance also participated in a seminar hosted at the United Nations in New York, covering topics including best agronomical practices, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and long-term sustainability of the coffee sector.
A separate Coffee Lover’s Choice honour was awarded to Rwanda’s Ngamba Coffee Washing Station, represented by Celine Niwemugeni, for the second consecutive year.
The Coffee Lover’s Choice award, presented by illycaffè CEO Massimiliano Pogliani, was determined by more than 1000 visitors to flagship illy cafès locations in London, Milan, Paris, Shanghai, and San Francisco.
“The Ernesto Illy International Coffee Award starts with the unique illy blend, developed consistently year after year, which gives us a deep knowledge of the coffee origins. We then combine this expertise with our direct sourcing model, working hand-in-hand with coffee growers to produce the highest quality Arabica beans sustainably,” Pogliani says.
“Coffee lovers and connoisseurs around the world are becoming more and more interested in learning and understanding not only about aromatic and taste profiles typical of a specific terroir – very similarly to what happens int the wine world – but also how their coffee is produced and who produces it. This is the deep meaning of this Award, which wants to shorten the distance and bring together growers and consumers.”