Market Reports

Indian coffees on the world stage

With the attention of the coffee world focused on the Specialty Coffee Association of Europe’s (SCAE) World of Coffee Event in France last June, the Coffee Board of India put their country’s best coffees on display in the 12th Flavour of India – Fine Cup Award. The cupping competition was open to Arabica and Robusta beans in washed and unwashed varieties, as well as specialty classes of both types of bean.
The green coffee samples received from growers were coded and tested according to physical and visual quality parameters.  The coffees that were selected in the physical/visual quality test were then evaluated for cup quality by an experienced panel of tasters to select the best coffees for the final round of cupping. The outstanding coffees were then chosen for the final cupping by an international jury of cup tasters. The Coffee Board of India received a total of 221 coffee samples comprising 72 samples of Arabica, 42 samples of Robusta, 65 samples of Specialty Arabicas and 42 samples of Specialty Robusta from the various coffee growing regions of the country.  Out of 221 samples, 40 samples, including 20 samples of Arabica, six samples of Specialty Arabica, eight samples of Robusta and six samples of Specialty Robusta were selected for cup quality evaluation by the international jury. The final round of the cupping competition was held at the Acropolis Exhibition Centre in Nice, France and the logistic and technical support was provided by the SCAE itself. The cupping session began with an introduction by Dr K Basavaraj and an insight into the finer nuances of the Indian coffees from Sunalini Menon, an international quality expert who has helped design the Flavour of India Competition over the years. The results of the 12th Flavour of India Awards were declared in a ceremony organised at the coffee board’s stall at the SCAE World of Coffee Event on 26 June. The winner of Best Arabica was the Pedabayalu Estates’ Arabica Plantation SLN-4. The Poabs Estates’ Organic Arabica SLN-9 took out the Best Specialty Arabica prize, while the prize for the Best Specialty Robusta went to Harley B Estates’ Old Robusta. The Best Robusta category was won by Margolly Estates’ Robusta Parchment AB. The full details of the winners in all categories and regions can be found on coffee board of India’s website, Another high point for Indian coffees was achieved recently when two new Robusta coffees from Sethuraman Estates became just the second and third coffees in the world to obtain Q Robusta certification from the Coffee Quality Institute (CQI). Sethuraman Estates’ 2013 Robusta Kaapi Royale (RKR) and RKR Peaberry join the farm’s 2012 RKR crop to remain the only Robusta coffee farm in the world to meet the program’s rigorous standards. “We are stunned and extremely honoured to have been recognised as producing the only certified Fine Robusta coffees in the world for a second year,” says Sethuraman Estates’ Mr Gurjer.  “Furthermore, within India, domestic green grading standards stipulate that peaberry coffees are inferior to others, which we have long believed is not the case from our independent tastings. It is very exciting to see our own results validated by an independent panel of international experts.” In a process similar to industry standard Q grading for Arabica varieties, Q Robusta Coffees are evaluated by three Licensed Q Robusta graders under the Coffee Quality Institute’s Q System by one of its authorised in-country partners. Coffees successfully meeting program standards to be considered Fine Robusta receive a Q Robusta certificate. Those that do not meet the minimum requirements receive a technical report but are not listed in on the institute’s website. 

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