Amid twinkle lights and the best sort of holiday bustle, Rise Coffee, in St. Louis, hosted “Roast and GO” Dec. 16. It was our first-ever roasting competition and, it turned out, the perfect cap to the busy fall launch of The Genuine Origin Coffee Project.
Even as Mother Nature put on her own impressive snow-and-ice event, the evening went spectacularly well. It was warm and jovial and festive, in a beautiful space with incredible people. But what maybe warmed our hearts most of all were the coffees.
The competition featured Reserva Guama Danta, a coffee contributed to by approximately 1,200 very small producers in the Guama Danta community in central Honduras. Their farms, 2 to 3 hectares each, are between 1,500 and 1,700 meters above sea level, in a mountain-sheltered microclimate surrounded by sweetgum forest.
In the days leading up to the competition, it was a thrill to see these beans come back to us, carefully roasted and proudly repackaged.
The beans were harvested between December and March, and the producers de-pulped their own cherries and dried them on African beds or in parabolic dryers. Our tasting notes point to flavors of cherry, candied limes and baking spice, with a stone-fruit acidity.
In the days leading up to the competition, it was a thrill to see these beans come back to us, carefully roasted and proudly repackaged. A skilled team cupped the entries on Dec. 15, enjoying the nuances that came out in the various roasting styles.
Notes from the judges — including Joshua Tracey, who flew up from the Molinas de Honduras mill where Guama Danta was processed — described Jimmy Beans’ entry as “lemon, caramel and cream,” while the City of Saints’ roast yielded “Milk Duds, raisin and nougat.” Augies Coffee was “raisins, cream and milk chocolate,” and entries from Thou Mayest and White Elephant highlighted festive flavors of oranges and caramel.
“It’s truly an honor to be part of something that will help uplift the image of Honduran coffee and hopefully start planting the idea that, as an origin, we have both a lot to offer and incredible potential.” — Joshua Tracey
Those five roasters were among our 8 finalists. The following evening, Goshen Coffee Company, from Edwardsville, Ill., took third place; Franklin, Tenn.’s Honest Coffee Roasters placed second; and evening’s grand prize — complete with an all-expenses-paid trip to Guama Danta, Honduras — went to Broadsheet Coffee Roasters, an effort so brand new it hasn’t yet opened its doors in Cambridge, Mass.
Joshua remarked about the evening, “It’s truly an honor to be part of something that will help uplift the image of Honduran coffee and hopefully start planting the idea that, as an origin, we have both a lot to offer and incredible potential.”
In the coming weeks’ Updates (you can sign up for our newsletter at the bottom of our home page!) we’ll feature conversations with the three winning roasters (click here to read our first on Broadsheet). We hope you’ll read and comment and congratulate the winners — or at least check out their coffees! And of course, we hope you’ll roast up some Guama Danta yourself and keep the conversation going. •