Article Sean Edwards, Head Bean – Golden Bean

The short answer is… it is an amazing coffee which often comes at a premium price.

We have been working on how we can have a fairer playground for all roasters participating in the Golden Bean Roaster comp where coffees over our $60 per kilo cap can still feature.

Some past Golden Bean awards have gone to very expensive coffees entered by large corporate roasters who have much bigger budgets than a lot of new starters in the game. This is often an unfair advantage, so we have created the Elite category to make sure we also don’t miss out on these special beans.

When you look back on history there has always been some elite coffee making a media headline, like Jamaican Blue Mountain, Panama Geisha and Cup of Excellence coffees. Let me explain our research into this new Golden Bean Category and some history lessons.

The Engine room – Golden Bean 2020, a handful of industry professionals, preparing coffee for tasting.

Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee

One of the most famous coffees was the Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee which originated from French King Louis XV’s garden and was sent to Martinique to establish a coffee industry in 1728, it was gifted to the Jamaican governor 10 years later.

The high elevation and the lush volcanic soil saw this Arabica plant flourish and adapt its own unique flavour profiles. They called the Blue Mountain the Champagne of coffees, and the beans were exported in wooden casks.

The coffee is strictly controlled now by a Jamaican coffee board called JACRA which ensures all standards of growing, processing, and marketing are followed to a high standard, thus keeping prices at a premium.

Geisha coffee

Another amazing coffee was recently discovered in Panama this century called the Geisha coffee. It was found in the 1930’s in Ethiopia, in the Geisha region and the seeds were sent to research stations in Tanzania and Costa Rica.

From there they found their way to the Boquete region of Panama and lay undiscovered until 2005 where the beans reappeared in 2005’s Best of Panama Cup of Excellence competition. Geisha varietals are grown now all over the world, but the original Cup of Excellence geisha can reach up to $2500 a pound.

Geisha coffee beans Photo credit:

Yeast fermentation

Other expensive coffees we are seeing hit the market are coming from the processing phase, and the most popular method now is yeast fermentation, a method borrowed from the wine industry.

During the washing process, after pulping the coffee beans, they are held in containers and specific strains of yeasts are added which dramatically change the flavour profiles.

We are seeing coffees processed this way tasting like pineapple, coconut, and some even with winey elements. These coffees can go in either two directions on a cupping table, people either love or hate them as they’re often described as being too funky.

Kopi Luwak

The most talked about Elite coffee is Kopi Luwak. This coffee is where partially eaten coffee cherries pass through an animal called the Palm Civet. This weasel like animal is common to many south east Asian jungles where coffee is grown.

You will hear the coffee being called ‘civet coffee’ or ‘weasel coffee’. The coffee is not that great and is overpriced because of its unique processing method.

So now if you would like to tell the world about your Elite Coffee the Golden Bean is your media format. The competition will be judging all Elite coffees as a filter brew to bring out those special flavour profiles.

We again will use the Behmor Brewer that will give the best of a home consumer experience in filtered coffee and be consistent across the judging process with large amounts of entries.

I do please ask that we respect all those who enter the Golden Bean competition, as the event is more than showcasing the leaders of the global coffee industry, it is also a way we can network brilliance and unite a broken industry from a once in a lifetime pandemic.

Best of luck and we all will meet again soon.

Sean Edwards, Head Bean

Are you looking to enter the Golden Bean 2021? Click here to visit the website for more info.

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