A dozen international coffee experts shuffle around a long wooden table, pausing at each steaming cup, head dipping, sniffing deeply, and shuffling on once more. Then the raucous slurping begins. In the wings hangs Yang Fan, the coffee farmer, watching the judges circle intently, awaiting a verdict on her latest crop of beans.
“This is the most international farmer coffee cupping we’ve ever had,” says Samuel Gurel, CEO of Torch Coffee roasters in the southwestern Chinese town of Pu’er, Yunnan province, referring to the weekly coffee grading process he hosts for local farmers.
It is a cosmopolitan gathering — joined by industry aficionados hailing from Thailand, Guatemala, India, Russia, Vietnam, Laos, the Philippines, Kenya and more nations besides.