Brazil, with São Mateus Agropecuaria, is the country winner of the Best of the Best Award, which was presented to Josè Eduardo Dominicale during the 8th edition of the Ernesto Illy International Coffee Award.
The award, named after the visionary leader of illycaffè and the son of the company’s founder, celebrates the work that the company has done for the last 30 years, side-by-side with coffee farmers, to offer sustainable coffee.
The award was assigned by an independent panel of nine experts who examined the best batches from the 2022-2023 harvest through a blind tasting of nine coffees from the nine finalist countries: Brazil, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Nicaragua and Rwanda. Prior to being evaluated by the panel, each batch of coffee was analyzed by illycaffè’s quality control labs and rated in terms of richness and aromatic complexity, the elegance and balance of its flavor and intensity of its aroma.
“This year’s Ernesto Illy International Coffee Award winner is a rounded, wholesome, and fully bodied cup, with rich yet mellow flavors of a balance of chocolate, caramel, brown sugar, and toasted almonds on a bed of refined brightness, with a lingering finish of mild, gentle, yet harmonious sweetness. It truly represents the finest taste characteristics of its origin,” stated the Jury’s explanatory statement when indicating the winner.
Guatemala’s Finca Danilandia di Luis Arimany Mondonico won the Coffee Lovers’ Choice Award, assigned by a panel of consumers who, in the weeks prior to the event, carried out blind taste tests of the coffee samples in illy cafés in Trieste, Milan, Paris, London, Sao Paolo and New York and ranked their preferences.
The award was presented to the winner by illycaffè Chairman Andrea Illy during an event held at the New York Public Library in New York.
“The absolute victory of the Brazilian coffee coming from regenerative agriculture – chosen blindly among the nine best coffees in the world – fills me with joy,” Illy said in the announcement. “Indeed, the history of the Ernesto Illy Award began in Brasil in 1991 and this confirms that the rewards received by illycaffè for having transformed Brasil from a leader in quantity to a leader in quality are well-deserved. After more than 25 years of never-ending and tireless work by our team of agronomists and the University of Coffee, the leap has finally happened thanks to regenerative agriculture, which we decided to develop in 2018 for the benefits it brings to the environment and everyone’s health.”
The gala event at the New York Public Library, hosted by chef and TV star Marcus Samuelsson, was held to celebrate the best coffee producers who work behind the unique illy blend. The Ernesto Illy International Coffee Award is also a networking opportunity for those involved in the coffee industry, from producers to exporters, from traders to institutional representatives. Alongside illycaffè Chairman Andrea Illy, speakers included Vanusia Nogueira (International Coffee Organization’s executive director), Jeffrey Sachs (economist and co-chair at the Regenerative Society Foundation), Oscar Schaps (president of the Latina America division of Trading Stone X Financial Inc.) and Glaucio de Castro (president of the Federação dos Cafeicultores do Cerrado Mineiro).