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Singapore Specialty Coffee Auction: Exploring coffee from around the world

9 September 2020 by Mona Teo

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Come 1st October in collaboration with FHA, the Singapore Coffee Association will be hosting an online coffee auction – the first of its kind – featuring beans from all around the world. In this exclusive article, we sit down with 12 of the participants to learn more about their beans and what makes them so special.

What is specific to your region that gives your beans their unique characteristics?

Panama Coffee: Panama is renown the world over for exceptional coffees. This is largely attributed to our terroir, but producer contribution also plays a significant role. Our specific region, Boquete Valley, is the place where volcanic soil, winds, temperature and microclimate  combines perfectly giving our coffee beans its special flavor. Conscious agronomy, processing, and handling standards are some of the keys to fine coffees. This ballet between variables is challenging to maintain, but necessary if a producer intends to command good pricing and positive competition finishes.

Kopi Gayo:  Good coffee care, located at an altitude of 1650 masl and one variety in 3 hectares of coffee.

Ariago Café: Our coffee is grown in a mountainous region of fertile volcanic soils; the zone is humid, with temperatures between 15 and 25° Celsius (59 to 77° Fahrenheit), the ideal temperature to achieve the adequate development and life of Arabica coffee. Trees receive water and sun in a balanced way during the entire year.

Coopchebi (Peru Conglomerate): The coffee is of the Geisha variety, grown under forests, with ecological practices at an altitude of 1600 meters above sea level, in the central jungle of Peru.

Albugat (Peru Conglomerate): In the Jaén region, the altitude of the coffee-growing areas ranges between 1250 m.a.s.l. and 1950 m.a.s.l. The climate is temperate in the valleys and warm in the streams. The relief is relatively rugged, becauseits territory is crossed from south to north by the western mountain range of the Andes.

Café Del Peru (Peru Conglomerate): Peruvian soils are actually blessed to contain very complex mineral wealth. It is the richest country in minerals in all of America, even more so than also coffee-growing countries like Colombia, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, etc. The Cordillera de los Andes with its young 65 million years approximately, and being specifically the Eastern Cordillera of the Andes, a little older than the western Andean, has essential minerals for the coffee tree, which are; iron, manganese, copper, chlorine and zinc, which provides a pH between 5.3 to 5.7 in the Callayuc, Cutervo area, which is the origin of our specific sample for the Specialty Coffee Online Auction 2020. This is accompanied by a process from totally organic cultivation, without the use of pesticides or fumigations dangerous for the immunity of coffee and toxic for human consumption. We, at CAFÉ DEL PERÚ Co., use garlic as the best insecticide, which we crush and spray in solution with water between the leaves and stems of the coffee tree, this gives a total disinfection to the coffee bush, much better than synthetic fumigation chemicals conventional.

Kenya Coffee: The area is on the eastern slopes of Aberdares ranges with good soil and favourable rainfall.

Procami (Venezualan Conglomerate): The type of soil, our growing altitude of 1800 meters above sea level, temperature, relative Humidity and that our farm is located within the climate of a tropical rain forest.

Café Del Sur (Venezualan Conglomerate): Our region has unbeatable soil conditions, which have high levels of nutrients, which are: Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Sulfur, Iron, Zinc, among others. In addition to this, we have dark soils which are the best for growing coffee due to the high content of organic matter.

Agro Café Aragua (Venezualan Conglomerate): First, we must give recognition to our coffee growers. Our beans come from areas that are above 1000 meters above sea level, between mountains located in the Henry Pittier National Park, an environmentally friendly coffee surrounded by shady vegetation with nearby springs of native varieties such as the typical here called Creole, which is carried downhill on animals (mules, donkeys). All of this gives to our Aragüeño coffee its own intrinsic and unique characteristics.

Café De La Montana (Venezualan Conglomerate): Starting with the altitude and, of course, the micro climates of these areas, they help to generate unique characteristics in the profile of cups; the Venezuelan Andean soils are characterized by attributing notes of Citrus. On our farm we have managed to achieve a particular note of Peach that helps us to identify ourselves and to also differentiate ourselves.

How does your company ensure quality beans through your growing processes?

Panama Coffee: Considerable care and attention is given to our grow-side of the business. We never use herbicides as we believe these harmful chemicals not only negatively impact cup quality, but our ecology as well. We use the highest quality applications and reconstitute our milling byproduct in a natural compost.

Kopi Gayo: This coffee is processed by the farmer and myself, the farmer processes it until the pulper is then handed over to me for further processing.

Ariago Café: We control the process all the way from the seed, followed by germination that guarantees having the seedlings at the correct point for sowing. We apply certified fertilizers according to the needs of the soil, and we are permanently performing clean-ups and monitoring the adequate development of the trees.

Coopchebi (Peru Conglomerate): We are exporting producers and we do the post-harvest processes safely to guarantee a uniform quality.

Albugat (Peru Conglomerate): Selective harvesting consists of collecting only fully ripe coffee fruits or cherries, discarding the ones that are dry, overripe, dark and green. The selective harvest, as well as the agronomic and post-harvest management, has an important role in the physical quality and cupping profile. Quality control continues with the strict post-harvest quality control and cupping tests.

Café Del Peru (Peru Conglomerate): What we mentioned above, the excellence of soils in the country richest in minerals, not only in America but probably in the world, accompanied by a semi-tropical climate, which accompanied by cloudiness, Amazonian humidity and temperate temperatures ranging from 18 ° to 33 ° degrees centigrade. We ensure quality grains, because CAFÉ DEL PERÚ Co. uses industrial carbon, oxygen and nitrogen as non-conventional fertilizers, in CAFÉ DEL PERÚ Co., we feed the soils with fish meat and beef, this gives the soil a unique production quality, this we have used in our crops in Quillabamba in Cusco and now in Callayuc, Cutervo, which generates leaves and cherry trees with unique qualities in the world, is an innovative method, totally organic and with an exemplary life cycle.

Kenya Coffee: Through the farmers field schools (ffs) programmes and the involvements of extension services farmers are provided with day to date updates.

Procami (Venezualan Conglomerate): Our Fertilization Processes are executed under a strict schedule.

  • The quality of our floors is excellent
  • Our tropical rainy climate favours us a lot.
  • Most of our processes are Organic
  • When planting our Coffee Plants, we use organic fertilizers of decomposed animal manure
  • Performing preventive processes to avoid proliferation of broca (coffee bore beetle- Hypothenemus hampei) and CLR (Hemileia vastatrix).
  • Before sowing coffee, soil studies are carried out for each lot that we are going to plant

Café Del Sur (Venezualan Conglomerate): To ensure the quality of our grains it is important that the fruits ripen together as much as possible and thus achieve an even harvest with few immature fruits when harvesting.

Agro Café Aragua (Venezualan Conglomerate): We provide technical assistance and support during the coffee calendar to our affiliated coffee growers, we perform physical quality analysis (% humidity, water activity, size, density, defects, colour, UV light) and sensory quality analysis (cup quality), we have a laboratory to analyse the samples, we also perform roast profiles to know the potential of the bean, we validate the sensory analysis with experts (Q Grade), we make the selection (18-17-16 mesh) of our beans by hand, we store in special ECOTAK bags, and we manage a corresponding stabilization time to maintain the precursors of aroma and flavour.

Café De La Montana (Venezualan Conglomerate): We have a highly qualified staff for field work in collection and processing, each staff has enough information to develop their work aiming to maintain our quality.

What are some of the methods used to ensure the unique taste of your beans? 

Panama Coffee: Cleanliness on the farm, processing precision, and staff morale are some of the highlights to our success.  We have an exceptional cup quality at Cafelino and we’re very proud of the advances we’ve made in the last few years in both farm management and processing. 2021 is shaping up to be a good production year and we’re focusing heavily on alternative processing methods in an effort to enhance our flavor spectrum.

Kopi Gayo: the correct height, ground and process.

Ariago Café: We apply artisan processes in a controlled and measured manner, such as the collection of the coffee cherry, manual selection, and sun drying. We combine these processes with special fermentation methods, which allow us to enhance the quality and flavor of the grain in a much better way.

Coopchebi (Peru Conglomerate): – Selective handcrafted harvest “only ripe coffee”.

– Soil with a pH of 5. – Clean spring water for post-harvest.

– We have a solar light from 8 to 10 hours per day.

– Drying is in the sun for natural and washed coffees (only for quality coffees).

– Drying is under shade for black honey coffees and takes 60 days, ensuring higher quality and consistency.

Albugat (Peru Conglomerate): To achieve an optimal cup profile, we use the washed process, which consists of:

Seed selection, of the best plants from 4 to 5 years, Preparation of organic matter substrate, Organic fertilization, Integrated pest management by means of organic repellants and inoculation of efficient microorganisms, Weed control which is done manually using the machete as the only tool, Formation pruning, health pruning, production pruning and renewal are performed and Selective harvest.

Post-harvest management:

– Pulped. The same day of the harvest.

– Decomposition of musilago or fermented, depending on the altitude of the farm from 16 to 24 hours.

– Washing, considering the environment, the honey waters go to a treatment pond.

– Aired and later dried until obtaining 11% of the relative humidity.

– Stored on wooden racks, free of contaminants, until they are sold.

Café Del Peru (Peru Conglomerate): Our floors; As we mentioned before, we nourish them not with conventional nutrients, but with the natural biological process, we generate an excellent “humus”, an excellent fertilizer from sowing at 35 cm. below the surface, with cubed meat, based on fish and beef, in some cases, poultry such as chicken or turkey, all that rich organic material, which instead of throwing it away or landfills, They are life for the soils, they are the best food for the soil, for all the soils in the world, this causes our coffee tree to grow healthy and strong, so we dare to say that we are the first or perhaps the only coffee company in the world. world, in using this method which we invite you to try from your flowerpots, with your home plants, you will see how much flowering will emanate from your plants and how much life in your leaves and stems they will have, it; The natural Biological Cycle is the ideal method of CAFÉ DEL PERÚ Co.

Kenya Coffee: Through open dry systems and traditional fermentation processes.

Procami (Venezualan Conglomerate): Our soils are sandy loam, our plants receive 25% of solar radiation on average, which we achieve with constant monitoring of solar radiation in the area, we also use ti amo trees and fruit trees for shade control, Ideal temperature, Our tropical rainy climate, The Altitude of 1800 meters above sea level where our FARM is located, Our Drying is totally Natural, we do it in African Beds in drying greenhouses at full solar exposure and, overall, the love and care that we personally dedicate to our coffee plants!

Café Del Sur (Venezualan Conglomerate): To maintain our unique flavour of the beans, we constantly assess our coffee trees, maintain a balance between manual methods and the inclusion of technology, and we have a parabolic solar drying space with a height of 2 meters from the ground.

Agro Café Aragua (Venezualan Conglomerate): We promote a clean cup with minimal defects and the standardization of good processes and this is achieved with the selection of only ripe cherries, and proper post-harvest handling, there comes the use of the post-harvest kit that we deliver to our coffee growers, which consists of the following:

  • Cerezometer to evaluate the proper selection of ripe cherries.
  • Use of the Fermaster exact time to take to the wash.
  • Gravimet method that helps the farmer to know when the coffee is dry based on weight.
  • Use of African beds for drying.
  • A thermo-hygrometer is provided to monitor relative humidity and temperature
  • Special EcoTack bags for storage.

This is, as I said before, so that the coffee grower standardizes the processes; in other words, let him know that it is done well and that this good experience can be replicated.

Café De La Montana (Venezualan Conglomerate): We understand the Rational use of water. We are committed to making processes where we use the least amount of water, in this sense, we work with Semi-Washed processes And we bet on natural coffees, Honeys and controlled fermentations thus giving an Ecofriendly practice.

We manage 100% of our plantations free of AgroChemicals, placing our project in Organic standards, we take care of native Fauna and flora, we use sectorized nets for drying. and we generate original flavours.

How has the pandemic impacted your sales?

Panama Coffee: Like most businesses, we’ve been negatively affected by the global reaction to the illness, but not as bad as some. Through this challenge we’ve managed to find ways to be more efficient and will be applying these new concepts in 2021.

Kopi Gayo: It affects the sales price and volume, buyers ask for a lower price on the grounds that there are fewer buyers.

Ariago Café: The pandemic arrived at our country right when harvesting began during the first semester of the year. This impacted its collection and processing, mainly due to the labor restrictions imposed. On the other hand, coffee consumption in Colombian increased by almost 30% during this period, and fortunately as a company, we were prepared for virtual sales. At the same time, the domestic price of coffee is facing a good moment mainly due to the behavior that Colombian coffee prices are experiencing in the New York Stock Exchange, added to the fact that the Representative Market Rate favors negotiations in US Dollars. We can say that we are one of those privileged sectors that have had a favorable outcome during this pandemic.

Coopchebi (Peru Conglomerate): The coffee harvest in Peru began in March and the pandemic affected 50% of coffee producers that are in areas from 800 meters to 1,300 meters above sea level, because there were few field personnel in the beginning of the harvest. COOPCHEBI is a producers cooperative and we harvest at 1,600 meters above sea level, so production wasn´t affected. The costs were a factor that affect us,because farmers have to be paid more, as well as transportation. We feel that the pandemic has helped a lot in promoting the national consumption of quality coffees.

Albugat (Peru Conglomerate): The closing of coffee shops, restaurants, retail stores and hotels around the world has prevented our clients from placing their purchase orders due to overstock caused by low consumption in these places, which has generated a drop in sales and as a result of this the reduction of income for our company. We hope that with the reopening of the world economy in the coming months this situation will improve.

Café Del Peru (Peru Conglomerate): We are actually grateful to the COVID-19 pandemic, since it has taught us to be more humble, and to know that the human being is not God, but that we must accept the changes that each pandemic brings to humanity, we must no longer complain, but learn to get ahead. It is a fact that sales have stagnated, but it is part of learning the sacred message, if we really are a leading company we will rise up and if we are not? Well we’ll never get up again This is the ideal time to show who we are, that we do not overwhelm ourselves when faced with problems, but rather gives us more strength to emerge and move forward.

Kenya Coffee: For a longer period the Nairobi auction system had remained closed and too access to other direct market has been limited.

Procami (Venezualan Conglomerate): Thanks to God it has not affected us in our sales, people do not stop consuming our coffee, furthermore, right now the consumption of our product has increased. Homemade coffee has become a big trend, especially in the middle of the quarantine.

Café Del Sur (Venezualan Conglomerate): The pandemic has affected us in many aspects; regarding the world of coffee, consumption has decreased dramatically since we have fewer points of sale due to being isolated and in confinement, on the other hand the companies that are in charge of the roasting process continue to buy to replace stocks and take advantage of the new harvest. On the other hand, transportation and the purchase of harvesting equipment and instruments are limited.

Agro Café Aragua (Venezualan Conglomerate): We have made an effort during this pandemic to promote our Aragüeño coffee, highlighting to the coffee grower everything that entails its traceability. Despite this situation we have taken our specialty coffee to large nearby cities such as Caracas and Valencia; it has had good receptivity on the part of coffee connoisseurs.

Café De La Montana (Venezualan Conglomerate): Undoubtedly, we have been affected mainly in our direct sales, our products are dedicated first-hand to be Distributed and supplied to Coffeeshops and Boutiques and, well, during  the current times of pandemic most of these places are closed, however we have had the possibility of reinventing ourselves and bringing coffee to homes and enthusiastic consumers from our digital platform (Instagram) whereby we make personalized sales.

Home-made coffee has become a huge trend amidst especially amidst lockdown. What is one quick tip you can give our audience to brew a good cup of coffee at home?

Panama Coffee: There are a couple very simple things that can increase cup quality; water quality and machine cleanliness. Using pure spring water as well as cleaning the coffee maker after each use will dramatically increase cup quality.

Kopi Gayo: Good coffee does not have to be made by a coffee machine, but simply brewed well so all the flavors contained in coffee will come out perfectly. So there is no need for expensive tools, just a simple way like we did the cupping test, because that way we know the real taste of coffee.

Ariago Café: What we mainly recommend is for people to try and better understand the different attributes of coffee, and in this way they can clearly identify their own tastes; for example, acidity, sweetness, intensity, and the different preparations. In this way, each person can look for a coffee that adjusts to these characteristics, as there are many options and not everyone likes the same type of coffee.

Coopchebi (Peru Conglomerate): Definitely quality coffees must be consumed by filtering systems such as th Chemex method.

Albugat (Peru Conglomerate): Consider purchasing fresh roasted coffee beans to grind at home and use the brewing method according to the grind of the bean.

Café Del Peru (Peru Conglomerate): First is to breathe in the aroma of 100% natural organic coffee, before putting it in the coffee maker or distiller. Then put on some relaxing music by Frank Sinatra, visualizing your dreams and wishes every day, you have to visualize your dreams and make them come true. Before placing the distilled coffee in your cup, we recommend pouring 3 or 4 teaspoons of sugar or your favorite sweetener, then pouring the CAFÉ DEL PERÚ Co. distilled coffee, in any of its three presentations,

Classic, Gold & Black, and at the end Add the boiling water, stir with your spoon to the sound of Sinatra’s music as we mentioned at the beginning and then drink the coffee sip by sip. Drinking coffee with feelings of purity and peace is a ritual, which the distant Ethiopia, mother and father of coffee, has given us to everyone.

Kenya Coffee: Try our Muranga coffee which has reputation of high superior flavours high quality less caffeine and denser beans.

Café Del Sur (Venezualan Conglomerate): These times at home due to the pandemic issue, has allowed us to get to know each other better and learn a little more about many areas, in terms of coffee many people have chosen to learn new preparation techniques and know a better technicality when using their coffee extraction methods , for us a good advice is to use a good quality water, that is, one that is rich in minerals or other dissolved substances, to help us improve the quality of our cup.

Agro Café Aragua (Venezualan Conglomerate): The best coffee is how you prefer to taste it and it does not matter if it is a black brown or a guayoyo. Enjoy it, share it as a family in these moments when we are during more time together.

Café De La Montana (Venezualan Conglomerate): Firstly, it must be Fresh, freshly roasted and of course of Origin with its traceability so you are directly supported by micro producers and small Macas. It is important that it is freshly roasted or at least close to the roasting dates, in addition to recognizing what type of coffee it is the one you are looking for (if it is intense, medium or subtle) and what type of coffee will be used (to identify the exact type of grinding); this in order to make the best decision at the time of purchase!

How do you feel about participating in the upcoming coffee auction?

Panama Coffee: Meeting new people, exchanging ideas, and introducing our coffee to a new market are all part of the reason why we are thrilled to take part in the Singapore Specialty Coffee Auction.

Kopi Gayo: I will keep trying to improve the quality for next year’s auction, I’m not afraid to win or lose I only have one word to try to be the best.

Ariago Café: We are extremely happy and excited to be able to present at this important scenario, a coffee that is very special to us; one that we have prepared with dedication and that has received high praises locally.

Coopchebi (Peru Conglomerate): It is our first time and we are very excited to position our coffees and Peruvian coffees in Singapore. Thank you very much for the opportunity.

Albugat (Peru Conglomerate): We are very enthusiastic and overjoyed with our participation, since we will have the opportunity to make the specialty coffees of our country known in the Asian region, and we are thankful with the organizers of the event for the invitation.

Café Del Peru (Peru Conglomerate): We entrust ourselves to God, the creator of everything, if God provides, the results will be optimal. We are committed to bringing to the Asian market and especially to SINGAPORE, an exemplary world power for the entire planet, a special feeling of bringing the best of Peru to your table. Singapore is a small country geographically, but giant in brain and expansion, so we want to bring the best coffee in the world to its market. CAFÉ DEL PERÚ Co., harvests the best coffee productions from the south, north and center of Peru, that is, we take all the varieties of Peruvian coffee to the world. For this reason, we feel happy and committed to bring the best of our red and white colors, to the great commercial ally called; SINGAPORE.

Kenya Coffee: This a good opportunity for our premium Muranga coffee to access the Singapore and other emerging markets in Asia.

Procami ((Venezualan Conglomerate): We feel very Proud and honoured to participate in the auction and our coffee is the product of the work of a whole technical and worker team that we work together, like the fingers in a hand, to obtain the best coffee in the world, and to be able to show the world the quality of the Venezuelan coffee.

Agro Café Aragua (Venezualan Conglomerate): It is a great opportunity to make ourselves known and mainly promote the work of our Aragüeños coffee growers, our origin, in advance thanking you for this space.

Café De La Montana (Venezualan Conglomerate): We are happy it is the first time that we participate in an auction of this magnitude, proud to represent our people and our origin in addition to putting our flag in international events, thank you for supporting we are a group of young people with a lot of passion for what we do as soon as this begins we will surely continue climbing better levels.


Join the Singapore Specialty Coffee Auction, 1 October as a bidder by registering here: https://lnkd.in/dS9e6Z4
You can view the full auction catalog here:  https://lnkd.in/d8cCezX