German Córdoba - 2019 - Copa Suaceña 1st Place


From beginning to end, this elegant competition winning lot presents complex flavors with immaculate clarity and balance. Delicate florals, almond brittle, and green apple on the nose introduce vibrant flavors of toffee, cooked berries, and meyer lemon in the cup.

German Cordoba was one of the founding members of the Divino Niño producer group, serving as its first president, when it formed in 2004. This spectacular Tabi selection from Don German’s farm, La Morelia, was awarded 1st place at the inaugural Copa Suaceña: a regional cupping competition organized to highlight the very best coffees produced by individual members of two producer groups in southern Huila, Colombia that Passenger has been buying from for the past two years.

German was a familiar name to our team before the competition. Don German was the first president of the Divino Niño producer association when it originally formed in 2004 and Passenger previously bought a special selection of the Tabi variety that he produces on his farm Finca La Morelia. After the official results of the competition had been announced at a community gathering attended by all the producers, our sourcing team had the distinct pleasure of continuing the celebration with the whole Córdoba family (German and his wife have nine children and many grandchildren!) in their home at La Morelia.

While other varieties (including Caturra, Colombia, and Gesha) are cultivated on his farm, Don German chose to submit a single-variety selection of his Red and Yellow Tabi for the competition. This lot was dry fermented for approximately 30 hours following pulping before completing 30 days of drying on a parabolic bed. When asked what he planned to do following his Copa Suaceña success, German laughed and said: “I plan to plant more Tabi!”

2019 Copa Suaceña

In December, 2019 two members of Passenger’s green buying team travelled to southern Huila, Colombia to participate as judges in the inaugural Copa Suaceña: a regional cupping competition, organized by our friends and partners at Osito Coffee, that was created to identify and recognize the highest quality coffees produced by a community of farmers that Passenger has been buying from for the past two years.

Producer, Jose Cuellar

To qualify for inclusion, coffees submitted to the competition had to meet strict physical analysis criteria (between 10-10.8% moisture content; between .48-.58 water activity, yield factor of 90 or less), and had to be produced by members of one of two producer groups: La Cooperativa Divino Niño del Horizonte and ASOCAFOR. Since 2018, this community of coffee producers has been one of Passenger’s foundational partners and their coffees are featured all year round on our menu under the name Divino Niño.

Evan and Carl, pictured with Jose Jadir Losada of Osito (left) and Edilma Polania Bermeo and her family (she is the managing director of The Cooperativa Divino Niño

Given the consistently high quality of the community blend that these producers have delivered over the last couple years, it was a unique pleasure to have the opportunity to taste select coffees from individual members of the group for the first time on the competition cupping table. Over the course of three days, the small panel of judges blindly evaluated a carefully screened selection of 24 lots, narrowing the entries down to the top 10 coffees, and then re-cupped the top 10 again on the last day to ultimately determine the final ranking.

German Cordoba with his wife Adeisa González

German Cordoba's Yellow Tabi

The purchase of a number of competition lots from the Copa Suaceña is an exciting development within the broad sourcing partnership that Passenger has been gradually building over time with the producers of Divino Niño and ASOCAFOR. The first step was the addition of the Divino Niño blend to Passenger’s Foundational Menu, making it feasible for us to pay fixed prices on an on-going basis for the vast majority of the 86+ coffee that these 34 small farms produce annually. The second step in our pursuit of a deeper partnership centered on the creation of a home for coffees produced by the same farmers that achieve slightly lower quality scores (in the 84-85 pt. range). By founding our sister roasting company Necessary Coffee we were able to start buying these coffees from Divino Niño and ASOCAFOR as well.

At Passenger we are committed to the idea that the pursuit of a truly viable specialty coffee supply chain requires that coffees of all quality grades - not merely the highest scoring microlots - be bought at a fair price. While still at an early stage of development, our evolving partnership with the producers of Divino Niño is a project that fills us with pride and hope for the future.