In a magnificent dining room overlooking the East River, Illy Coffee hosted a fabulous dinner to celebrate their recent crop of international coffee awards.
Fittingly held at the UN, you couldn’t throw a pebble without locating and striking up a conversation with someone from a different county, who spoke a different language, and who works in a completely different industry from yourself.
Nine countries were a part of this evening’s ceremony, and each represented the forefront of coffee growers, sellers, buyers, and lovers.
Coffee is a finicky crop to grow and maintain at a high caliber, which is why these awards are especially meaningful for its winners who have devoted their whole lives to the production and distribution of coffee. Andrew Illy, the heir to his father’s coffee empire, hosts the first annual Ernesto Illy International Coffee Awards in his honor to celebrate the unique blends of coffee that exist across the globe. Another goal of this ceremony was to help bridge the gap between coffee growers and coffee consumers.
Illy chose to hold this event in New York because it is an “iconic city of consumption.” The stock market tracks the rise and fall of coffee costs, and nobody gets excited about the ebb and flow of industry like a New Yorker.
The winners of these awards were chosen on the quality of their beans. Training and education goes a long way, but if you don’t have the best quality of beans, Illy will not buy your coffee, and as a leader in the industry, this is an exceptionally crucial aspect of a coffee producer’s advancement. These awards are meant to honor the best grower of the best beans from Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, India, Honduras, Nicaragua, and El Salvador. From the national winners of those countries, a bronze, silver and gold medalist is chosen, or as Andreas Illy calls it, “the best of the best.” The synergy in the room was palpable, and it is always so wonderful to witness a passionate group of people coming together to support other practitioners of the same craft.
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