Last week, the espresso-focused Italian coffee giant Illycafé presented its first annual Ernesto Illy International Coffee Awards, recognizing the top quality producers in its supply network.
Held at the Delegates Dining Room of the United Nations in New York, the event notably pulled the mask off Illy’s signature blend, while more importantly recognizing and promoting the individual producers behind it in the spirit of quality through collaboration. The company has been holding a similar awards program annually in Brazil, yet in UN-fashion, decided to expand the program to include a number of additional major producing countries.
From its quality lab in Trieste, Italy, Illy identified the three best lots from the 2015-16 crop year from each of nine countries that have regularly contributed to Illy’s signature blend, before an international jury selected the top lot from each country. The awards gala itself recognized all 27 finalists.
The countries represented included Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Honduras, India and Nicaragua, while the international jury — calibrated by Mark Pendergrast and Illy Quality director David Brussa — was composed of coffee professionals, chefs and members of the coffee-focused media, including Peter Giuliano, Kerri Goodman, Corby Kummer, Grace Hightower, Suvir Saran, Viki Geunes, Luigi Taglienti, Maria Loi, and Adolfo Henrique Vieira Ferreira.
In the end, Ahmed Legesse from Ethiopia was presented with the Ernesto Illy International Coffee Award, with coffee praised by the jury as having an intense yet delicate flavor, and unique high-intensity floral jasmine notes mixed with a hint of citrus and fresh fruit. Receiving an equal score, a Honduran lot from Juan Angel Milla received a special honorable mention.
Read more at dailycoffeenews.com