Our September ICON is none other than the founder of Cupping Room Coffee Roasters, Kapo Chiu!
Kapo’s journey into specialty coffee began in 2011 when he founded Cupping Room, which was also the first year that the WBC-sanctioned Hong Kong Barista Championships were held. “Sometimes, timing can be everything. I saw the barista competition as a great way to learn quickly, meet industry people, as well as grow the brand all at the same time,” says Kapo. Since the beginning then, the brand and business of Cupping Room has been very closely tied to the world of coffee competitions.
Meeting US Brewers Cup Champion Andy Sprenger backstage (founder of Sweet Bloom Coffee Roasters) while volunteering at the 2012 World of Coffee in Vienna helped Kapo to shape the coffee philosophy of Cupping Room: relationship coffees that exhibit great aroma, high sweetness, and clean acidity. That chance encounter led to a relationship that continues to today, both between Andy and Kapo, and between Sweet Bloom and Cupping Room.
The two coffees chosen by Kapo reflect this shared heritage with Andy Sprenger. The first coffee is the Cerro Azul Geisha (hybrid washed) from Café Granja La Esperanza in Colombia, the coffee used by Kapo when he placed 2nd at the 2014 World Barista Championships in Rimini. His second selection is a naturally processed Gesha G31 variety from Oma Block at Gesha Village, Ethiopia – which he used when he placed 3rd at the 2017 World Barista Championships in Seoul.
- HARVEST: 2020
- PRODUCER: Rigoberto Herrera
- FARM: Cerro Azul
- REGION: Valle del Cauca
- ORIGIN: Colombia
- ALTITUDE: 1,950m
- VARIETIES: Geisha
- PROCESS: Hybrid Washed
- FLAVOURS: Nectarine, bergamot, Earl Grey, lavender
Cerro Azul is one of five farms owned by Rigoberto Herrera at Café Granja La Esperanza, and sits at a whopping 2,000 metres above sea level. The expertise of the craftsmen at Café Granja La Esperanza produce mind-blowing quality coffees, year after year.
Manual and rigorous picking followed by the de-pulping process, which is done without water. Coffee is stirred and tested sensorially to determine the ideal fermentation based on the cup profile wanted. Fermentation time for this coffee ranges between 19 and 22 hours in wholes cherries and then the cherries skin is taken out to start the second fermentation step in parchment and mucilage and last for 35 hours. Once coffee has been fully washed, is mechanically dried. The temperature is closely monitored and ranges between 35°C (95°F) and 45°C (113°F). The final humidity percentage is around 10,5%.
- HARVEST: 2020
- PRODUCER: Adam Overton & Rachel Samuel
- REGION: Oma, Gesha
- ORIGIN: Ethiopia
- ALTITUDE: 1,931-2,049m
- VARIETIES: Gesha 1931 (G31)
- PROCESS: Natural
- FLAVOURS: Floral, Earl Grey, genmaicha, elegant
Gesha Village is a 471-hectare coffee farm founded by Adam and Rachel Overton in Gesha, Ethiopia, with an astonishing elevation of 1,909-2,069 masl. This estate is divided into eight "blocks" for added transparency and traceability of terroir, where three different gesha varieties are planted and harvested. Each block has its own micro-climate and soil conditions, which result in the coffees developing unique characteristics specific to each block.
This particular lot is the Gesha 1931 (G31) variety, grown in Oma Block. Oma is named after the loved and respected religious leader of the Meanit people, who live in the area of Gesha Village's estate. Coffees from Oma exhibit tea rose, jasmine, peach, apricot, candied fruits, melon, and honeyed sweetness, and this lot is an incredibly clean and transparent example of this type of gesha character.