Anibal Sanchez Burbano - COE Winning Lot 2021

Anibal Sanchez Burbano - COE Winning Lot 2021

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    Among the many beautiful examples of the gesha variety that we have had the privilege of tasting, Anibal Burbano’s competition lot is notable for its elegant balance and nuanced flavors. Gentle aromatics of citrus, honey, and spearmint introduce a cup with delicate notes of strawberry, clementine, apricot, and black tea. Look for increased flavor complexity and a refreshing wintergreen finish as the coffee cools.

    Passenger was able to secure just 50 pounds of Anibal Sanchez Burbano’s exquisite competition lot that was awarded 2nd place at the 2021 Colombia Cup of Excellence competition. A remarkably clean and complex example of the renowned gesha variety, Señor Burbano’s entry is one of the finest Colombian coffees we have ever had the pleasure of tasting.


    This coffee was purchased through the Cup of Excellence, a rigorous competition conducted with the goal of selecting and bringing to market the finest coffees from any given country of origin. This is done via a process of blind analysis, first by a National Jury of roughly a dozen people (who themselves are rigorously vetted for the honor of being a Cup of Excellence judge), and then by an International Jury of roughly 20 industry professionals from around the globe. As each lot enters the competition process it is assigned a code known only to the competition auditor. Each lot is cupped (tasted) numerous times. The further along the competition a coffee progresses, the greater the number of times it has been blindly evaluated. A coffee that ultimately makes it to the top 10 of the competition will have been tasted at least 120 times!

    After being assigned a final ranking, the coffees are sold through an online auction which tends to drive prices quite high. Overall, this is a net positive for producers and the industry at large as it incentivizes farmers to carefully produce the best possible coffee to submit to the competition, thus treating the crop as a truly specialty item and further distancing and distinguishing specialty coffee from commodity coffee and commodity-driven approaches to producing and selling coffee. Further, it normalizes high prices for coffee - a necessity if coffee production is to continue into the foreseeable future. Finally, the Cup of Excellence plays an important role in facilitating market access for small coffee producers that might otherwise struggle to connect with specialty buyers who are motivated to pay excellent prices for their coffee. Many producers who enjoy success at the Cup of Excellence find buyers through the competition that they are able to build valuable ongoing partnerships with.

    Anibal Celestino Sanchez Burbano is a third-generation coffee producer from La Argentina, within the department of Huila, Colombia. Given that 2021 was the first year that Señor Burbano chose to enter a gesha variety lot from his farm in the Cup of Excellence, his coffee’s final competition cup score of 90.07 pts. and 2nd place finish in the overall ranking was a truly fabulous outcome! Shortly before the Colombia COE auction took place on the 3rd of June, Passenger joined a consortium of U.S. buyers (the other buyers were: Cometeer, George Howell Coffee, Bird Rock Coffee Roasters, and Intelligentsia) that were planning to bid for Señor Burbano’s coffee as a buying group. When all was said and done, the 25 winning lots from the 2021 Colombia competition achieved an average price of $30.79 per/lb., setting a new Cup of Excellence record for the highest average price achieved at a national auction. Anibal Burbano’s 2nd place coffee was split into two auction lots, one of which was secured by the U.S. consortium for the remarkable price of $95.10 per/lb (not including export, import, and air-freight costs), with the vast majority of this money going directly to the producer.

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