Coffee blogging 2009 Chapter 1 Rancho Sao Benedito COE Lot 11

Coffee blogging the Cups of Excellence 2009Time to open a new chapter on coffee writing – the much promised return to pure coffee writing – tasting, critique and advancing knowledge of the bean.

Our sponsor on these initial blogs is Transcend Coffee of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada – with thanks to Poul Mark for making this happen.

A little background on the history of my personal coffee project ( and our tasting lab at the University of Victoria: I started a web project called the Coffee Experts Group in 1994. This name changed to CoffeeCrew in 2001. I have worked in Computing Services at UVic since the late eighties and we have had our own coffee preparation area since 1991 or 1992. Our observations were first features in the magazine Coffee Journal in 1997. So, it has been 12 years since we have been seriously tasting and evaluating some of the best and most unusual coffees on the Planet Earth.

So. You ask… Where is all this knowledge and information? 12 years of tasting and no online database of all your observations Colin? I know… a lot of making up to do.
So let’s get busy.

Lot#: 11 Mariana de Carvalho Junqueira – Rancho São Benedito
As the song goes, “There is a whole lot of coffee in Brazil…” and for the uninitiated, many would say – “Who else grows coffee other than Brazil and Colombia?”

Trust me. sadly, I hear that a lot – even working at a University.

Rancho São Benedito was a winner in the 2008 Cup of Excellence program.
What is the Cup of Excellence you ask?
“The Cup of Excellence is a strict competition that selects the very best coffee produced in that country for that particular year . These winning coffees are chosen by a select group of national and international cuppers and are cupped at least five different times during the competition process. The final winners are awarded the prestigious Cup of Excellence® and sold to the highest bidder during an internet auction.”

Here is the skinny the way I see it.
A farm or CO-OP pays a membership fee and a fee per sample submission to the competition. The winners have their submissions put on an internet-direct auction block – with the potential advantage of bypassing all the middle men entirely.
And they sell coffee, ready to be roasted, from the farm directly to the roaster-retailer… an opportunity for a significantly higher price for their product over the traditional method of “movement to market”.

Rancho São Benedito tasting notes: We sample all coffees in a variety of different ways – and I stress, we are not doing a traditional cupping.
Whole bean coffee samples are ground with professional grade grinders like the Rancilio Rocky and the Baratza Vario. Samples are brewed 4 to 6 times in a Newco OCS-8 thermal carafe brewer and a Technivorm drip brewer, a minimum of 4 times in a 4-Cup (size large) Bodum press pot – and if possible in an espresso machine as a single origin shot.

Rancho São Benedito Cup of Excellence tasted by CoffeecrewObservations: Our taste subjects are served samples of coffee with no former knowledge of what they are drinking and are encouraged to articulate the experience to the best of their abilities. Our group found the drip brewed Rancho São Benedito to be especially bright, lemon-citrus notes dominating with an almost perfect balance on the palate without a trace of bitterness. Hints of light chocolate and caramel appeared and we all observed that there was not a huge body in the cup. Press potting the coffee brought out more of the subdued body and tamed the wild astringency. In the press we noticed some spicy notes as well as a bit of orange and hibiscus.

We sampled and brewed the coffees 5 and 10 days out of the roaster and noted little, if any deterioration in the cups profile.