Spyhouse Coffee Roasters is incredibly proud of our Director of Coffee, Tony Querio, for taking 1st place overall in the 2016 U.S. Roaster Championship this past week, as part of the SCAA Expo in Atlanta, GA. The annual U.S. Roaster Championship (formerly the Roasters Choice Competition) is designed to highlight the art and craft of coffee roasting. This year’s event was determined by input from both a panel of judges and attendees, who then voted on/scored each offering. Every competitor was given the same green coffee to roast for the first round, and a coffee of the roaster’s choosing was provided for round two.
Our selection for this competition came from producer Juan Peña’s farm, La Papaya, in Saraguro, Southern Ecuador. The strength of our relationship with this producer and coffee makes the award that much sweeter, and we couldn’t be happier to share this honor.
Juan Peña is a very rare example of a completely unique coffee producer. His story and his coffee are like none other. Rather than continuing in a multi-generation path to coffee farming, Juan’s story with coffee began just a five years ago in an area where coffee trees have never existed before. His family’s hacienda had been producing long-stemmed roses for years, but a massive off-season rainstorm destroyed all the plants, causing him to replant the property with Typica, one of the two original cultivated coffee varieties. Applying unique practices he developed in his years producing ornamental flowers, Juan individually fertilizes each plant through a complicated irrigation system. This system causes the plants to act as if they are always peak production. The strain on his plants, from constantly being in production, creates an incredibly dynamic and complex cup, unlike any other coffee in the world. In only five years, Juan has already produced three full harvests. We were able to visit his farm during the most recent harvest and have been able to purchase his top lot for each of his three production cycles.