This month, Sustainable Harvest®’s team based in Mexico—led by Quality Control Specialist Chabela Cerqueda—hosted an introductory cupping course at our office in Oaxaca. The 10 participants in the course represented a wide swath of Mexico’s specialty coffee scene: Coffee producers, roasters, and baristas, as well as managers of dry mills and coffee cooperative agronomists, all came to learn the ropes from Chabela, who has made her name as one of the best cuppers in all of Mexico during her stints as a Mexico Cup of Excellence judge.
The course explained the foundations of quality control and cupping to the participants, beginning with an in-depth look at coffee varieties and processing. After everyone got up to speed on drying, milling, and green coffee analysis, the sensorial instruction began. Participants tasted fruits, spices, nuts, and chocolates to begin to hone the palate and identify the flavors found in coffee. Sweetness and acidity were also introduced and examined, and all the participants gained new awareness of taste. They left with new skills for analyzing green coffee and cupping samples, which they will take with them to their farms, co-ops, and cafés.
Next up, Chabela and team head to Honduras to teach a more advanced cupping course to producer organizations there. Over the course of the next few months, they will host more introductory and intermediate courses throughout Mexico and Central America, strengthening the entire region’s quality control as they go.