Volcafe’s Erin Wang Wins 5th Annual U.S. Cup Tasters Championship

Posted by on Apr 17, 2013 in News | Comments Off on Volcafe’s Erin Wang Wins 5th Annual U.S. Cup Tasters Championship

April 2013 in Boston, MA.

Erin Cup TastersErin Wang of Molinos de Honduras, Volcafe’s company in Honduras, has been declared winner of the 5th Annual U.S. Cup Tasters Championship. The event is run by the Specialty Coffee Association of America – the world’s coffee knowledge leader and largest coffee trade association.

30 competitors participated in the event in hopes of being crowned the national champion, and to get the chance to represent the United States at the 2013 World Cup Tasters Championship to be held in Nice, France in June 2013. Despite being a relatively small scale event, the contest is serious business in the coffee world. Coffee tasters are the guardians who determine which beans make it into coffee cups.

Because different taste preferences are found in different coffee cultures around the world, the U.S. Cup Tasters Championship takes a different approach to the test. Instead of evaluating coffee in the normal way, competitors’ skills are tested by distinguishing tastes in a “triangulation” format – tasters receive eight sets of three cups, or triangles, where two cups are identical and one is different. Some cups are so similar they come from the same region but just from a different farm. Competitors must identify the one cup that is different, using their ability to smell, taste, recall and concentrate – and all against the clock. The competitor with the most correct answers in the shortest amount of time is declared champion.

Erin worked her way through the qualifying heats to become one of the top six competitors in the semi-finals, where triangles increased in difficulty. The three high scorers then became finalists, with Erin triumphing as overall champion.

The achievement is even more special when you realize that this was Erin’s first time at the competition, where she managed to beat specialists from other well-known coffee organizations. But then Erin has plenty of experience, as she checks as many as 60 coffee samples a day as a part of her role with Volcafe. “It’s like a normal day, except you’re a little bit more nervous” says Erin.

Well done Erin!  A true demonstration of the skills of our employees and a great ambassador for Volcafe and for ED&F Man.

You can see Erin’s skills at impressive speed in this short video clip.