A Bittersweet Cup of Excellence for El Salvador

Alliance for Coffee Excellence announced the results of this year’s El Salvador’s Cup of Excellence, with 22 winning coffees and 11 National Winner coffees, representing five processes and eight varieties. 

First place winner was Roberto Vilanova, a fifth-generation coffee grower, with a score of 90.31, with a natural anaerobic Pacamara. This is the first time this process has topped the competition in the 17 years El Salvador has held this competition.

Roberto Vilanova Sr. (left) and Roberto Vilanova Jr., winners of this year’s El Salvador CoE.

“Cup of Excellence here showcases an origin of both time honoured tradition and at the same time an unbounded capacity for innovation, especially with new varieties. There are nuanced flavours and experiences you get here that you just can’t get anywhere else,” says Lloyd Thom, international judge and green coffee buyer at Campos Coffee in Australia.

The results, however, also brought tragic news⁠: Gilberto Baraona, a 15-time winner and producer, passed away a few days after the results were released. He won two awards this year, and his “contribution as a craft coffee producer has changed the way we see specialty coffee in El Salvador,” says the Alliance for Coffee Excellence. 

Check out more information on the winning coffees and details on the auction here.