Honduras’ Cooperativa Cocabel wins fifth Ernesto Illy International Coffee Award

Honduras Cooperativa Cocabel

Illycaffè has announced Cooperativa Cocabel in Honduras as the winner of the Ernesto Illy International Coffee Award 2020.

Cooperativa Cocabel won in both categories, Best of the Best and Coffee Lover’s Choice, after a series of blind tastings by two independent juries, one comprised of experts and the other of consumers.

Cocabel is a cooperative with about 100 partners located in the municipality of Belen in the department of Lempira in south-western Honduras. The partners deliver coffee cherries to the cooperative, which then removes the pulps, rinses them, and dries them out in the sun on the patio. Cocabel works closely with Bicafe, a company that runs a coffee warehouse and dry mill near Santa Rosa de Copan and selects high-quality batches of coffee.

Every year, illycaffè’s quality lab selects the best batches of coffee based on quality and sustainability parameters. The countries that stood out during the 2019/2020 harvest were Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Nicaragua, and Rwanda. The best three producers from each country made it to the final round of the Ernesto Illy International Coffee Award 2020, where each national winner became one of nine finalists in the international competition.

An independent panel of international experts, chefs, and food critics conducted a blind tasting of the nine finalists, sampling various preparations – espresso, moka, drip, and filter coffee – and chose a winner on the basis of the richness and complexity of the bouquet, the elegance and balance of flavours, and the intensity of the aroma.

“This time the panel of experts and the consumers agreed with the former qualitative analysis showing it matched consumers’ taste. This is a well-deserved recognition of the extraordinary work carried out day by day with great dedication by men and women from the Cocabel cooperative,” says illycaffè Chairman Andrea Illy.

“The Cocabel cooperative managed to draw together small coffee growers united by the awareness that sustainable quality beings with the plant. With the Ernesto Illy International Coffee Award, we aim to emphasise the importance of the care that growers put into their plantation, whether large or small, because it is the starting point for a virtuous circle that ends with the cup of coffee being savoured by its final consumer.”

The Ernesto Illy International Coffee Award ceremony, now at its fifth edition and named after the son of illycaffè’s founder, celebrates and rewards illy’s best growers for the attention to sustainable quality they bring to their work every day, and to renew the company’s commitment to improve the lives of producers and bring to life the dream of offering the best coffee to the world.

The virtual ceremony can be viewed at

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