Reasons to indulge in a cuppa

Excellent reason to indulge in a cuppa

Source: The Australian

Necia Wilden 


WHAT champagne is to sparkling wine,

a Cup of Excellence is to your standard morning coffee.

Bringing new meaning to the term international roast,

the Cup of Excellence range is recognised

by the coffee industry worldwide as the cream of the crop.

Cup of Excellence beans are considered the peak

of coffee production, offering the best quality brews

from nine of the world's top coffee-producing nations.

British coffee expert Stephen Hurst, who is visiting Australia

this week, is on the board of directors

of the annual Cup of Excellence competitions,

in which producers vie to be ranked

their country's top coffee producer.

"We're at the sharp end of the industry, the top 2

to 3 per cent of coffee production," he said.

"This is the very top level of tasting."

Since the non-profit Cup of Excellence organisation

was launched in Brazil in 1999,

with three member countries,

the value of its coffee beans sold at auction

has risen from $US4.63 per pound

to $US7.05 per pound between 2005-2008.

The competition is now run every year

in nine coffee-producing countries,

from Colombia to El Salvador and Rwanda,

and Cup of Excellence coffee is sold

at cafes and foodstores

from Britain to America to Norway and Japan.

The cafe latte sets in Sydney and Melbourne

can now enjoy Cup of Excellence coffees

in a few specialist cafes in Sydney and Melbourne.

Russell Beard, owner of The Source cafe

and roastery in Mosman on Sydney's northside,

will be charging his standard $3.50 for the special brew.

"The whole experience is really about

celebrating the farmer and the farm

where it was grown," he said.

At Brother Baba Budan, a cafe in Melbourne's CBD,

owner Mark Dundon is offering Guatemalan

"Finca La Perla" Cup of Excellence

for $3 a cup,

his standard coffee price.

Mr Dundon, who is travelling to Colombia next week

to be one of 15 international judges at

the 2009 Colombian Cup of Excellence competition,

said the program offered significant financial benefits

for coffee farmers.

Almost all the coffees are sourced from a single estate,

and occasionally two or three small farms

will be grouped together.

As well, the farmer's name is included

on the elaborate tasting notes

that accompany each bag of beans.

So what's the best way to enjoy the ultimate coffee?

Mr Hurst said the best way to appreciate

the individual qualities of a Cup of Excellence

is to enjoy it as filter or plunger coffee.

"That's when they really come into their own,

" he said."You might taste a Kenyan alongside

an Ethiopian.

The Kenyan will be like a Barolo wine,

with big, bold, blackcurranty flavours;

the Ethiopian will be floral, jasmine, delicate,

like a refined white wine. They're totally different."

To continue the wine analogy for the moment

at least,

you can go to a cafe and drink the coffee equivalent

of a glass of Krug champagne

for the price of a Domaine Chandon.

Source: The Australian

Necia Wilden 

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