2010 Awards for Coffee Excellence Winners
These are the nomination notes made by members for the winners of the SCAE's Awards for Coffee Excellence in 2010, presented in London on June 23. (You can see the report on the Awards evening, including the presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Award, and the award for National Coordinator of the Year, by clicking here.)
Winner of the award for Young Entrepreneur
Heili Politanov, Gourmet Coffee (Estonia)
During the time of "iron curtain", Heili Politanov was not allowed to travel outside of Soviet Union influenced countries. She lived behind the Berlin wall, not knowing what was going on in the world. The Soviet states sold green beans to Estonia, Arabica or Robusta, and she roasted them in her kitchen on pan over an open fire.
As she had always been curious about different cultures, she had always wanted to discover what is the world was all about. As soon as the gates were opened, she started to travel and learn, in order to go back home and start building her dream coffee world in Estonia, where she is with her life right now.
Working as a chef, she started to work with tastes and aromas. She continued her career in a spice company called Santa Maria, being in charge of sales of spices. During that time she learned a lot about selling and marketing TASTE and QUALITY.
She found coffee even more fascinating to learn about and soon moved to work with coffee in Paulig as sales and marketing manager in the three Baltic states. After she had travelled and learned about coffee growing in different farms in origin, cupped in some Cup of Excellence competitions, worked as a coffee trainer in Nicaragua, been responsible for cupping competitions etc etc, she felt she was ready to share her knowledge and experience and bring Estonian coffee life to the next level.
Heili Politanov, Annar Alas and Raimond Feil, the artisans of Estonian coffee, are building the “heart” of coffee of Estonia, in a business called Gourmet Coffee: a quality coffee roastery, training centre, café and coffee shop. It is already in full and successful operation.
Their mission is to make the top quality coffees from the best plantations available in Estonia. The strategy is to educate consumers to distinguish and appreciate different varieties of coffee instead of just choosing between coffee brands.
They started two years ago and it has been hard work to change people’s attitudes and way of thinking about coffee.
Heili is really encouraged and proud to be a member of the Speciality Coffee family. She would like to give credit to the visionary people who started the speciality coffee movement back in the beginning of the 1990s when Estonia was still part of the USSR.
She is a true young entrepreneur, who takes the responsibility of being a pioneer of quality coffee in Estonia.
Winner of the award for Inventive Communicator
James Hoffman, Square Mile Coffee Roasters, London (United Kingdom)
For never giving up experimenting, and for blogging his studies for everybody.
He is the guinea pig for all of us: he inspires us, we admire him, and he is so creative.
Everbody wants to attend his and Anette's UBFs (Ultimate Barista Fights) at Square Mile...
Winner of the award for Outstanding Producer
Lorie Obra, Rusty’s Hawaiian, Ka’u, Hawaii (United States)
In 1999 Lorie Obra and her husband Rusty converted 12 acres of old sugar plantation on the side of the volcano Mauna Loa into a thriving coffee plantation.
Using a selection of coffee varieties, Typica, Caturra and Bourbon, they planted 600 trees over 2,000 feet.
After Rusty died in 2006, Lorie maintained the farm, picking, washing and drying the crop to produce this excellent coffee that you have here today.
Notes from Coffee Review: Ka'u is a newly emerging coffee growing district centered 30 miles or so south of the famous Kona region on the Big Island of Hawaii. Lorie’s coffee has excellent body, delicate fruitiness and pungent flavour, and is “utterly pure and soaringly intense,” renowned coffee taster Kenneth Davids says.
In July 2009, Rusty’s won the top score in Coffee Review for its Bourbon variety. "This extraordinary coffee is the result of a deliberate experiment isolating coffee from fifty or so trees of the Bourbon variety growing on a section of the small farm of Lorie Obra in Ka'u. Its unusual character doubtless derives from its Bourbon heritage, but its quality is owing to the sort of artisan meticulousness that rarely happens in such a thorough-going way in the practical, cost-driven world of coffee: Ripe fruit was picked by Lorie herself, not by hired pickers, the fruit removal was performed by the traditional ferment and wash method, and the sun-drying was particularly watchful."