27 US Roasters Named Good Food Awards Finalists in Ethiopia-Dominated List

November 10, 2017

Good Food Awards photo

Nick Brown

Twenty seven U.S. coffee roasting companies have been named as finalists by the Good Food Foundation in the 2018 Good Food Awards.

The awards program, now in its eighth year, celebrates food products and their makers in numerous specialty food categories not merely for quality, but for sustainable sourcing and social good. Coffee is the only product category in which the ingredients don’t need to be sourced from U.S. soil.

While the coffee company finalists hail from far and wide throughout the United States, this year’s finalists list looks like a shrine to one origin in particular: Ethiopia.

All but one of the 27 coffees listed as finalists based on blind tastings were sourced from the historic growing country, with various specific arabica-famous regions within the country also represented. The majority of the finalists are natural-process coffees. The lone outlier on the list a Peruvian coffee roasted by Chicago’s Metric Coffee, which should perhaps win a GFA on principle alone.

The reasons Ethiopia is so heavily represented on the list are potentially many, but if we may speculate, they might include:

  • Ethiopia produces exceptional coffee in the first place
  • Ethiopian and some other East African coffees are known to maintain their positive attributes throughout a longer shelf-life after roasting, which can come into play during competition timing
  • Ethiopia lends itself particularly well to the certification requirements regarding sustainable sourcing according to the GFA evaluation criteria
  • Natural process coffees often excel in coffee competition settings due to their often distinct and dramatic flavor characteristics
  • Ethiopian coffees have found great success at GFAs in the past, encouraging roasters to submit them in hopes of similar results
  • And/or the timing of the Ethiopian harvest season aligns well with the timing of the awards program.

Whatever the reasons may or may not be, the results are especially clear this year.

Here is the full list of 2018 GFA finalists, with the roaster’s home state listed, in the coffee category:

Andytown Coffee Roasters, Ethiopia Idido, CaliforniaBackyard Beans Coffee Company, Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Konga, PennsylvaniaBig Creek Coffee Roasters, Ethiopia Gedeb, MontanaBlack Oak Coffee Roasters, Ethiopia Hambela Alaka, CaliforniaBlueprint Coffee, Ethiopia Hambela, MissouriCaffe Ladro, Ethiopia Hambela Kirite Organic, WashingtonCompelling Coffee, Ethiopia Banko Gotiti Coffee, CaliforniaFlight Coffee Co., Ethiopia Amaro Gayo, New HampshireHuckleberry Roasters, Ethiopia Sidama Ardi, ColoradoIntelligentsia Coffee & Tea, Organic Ethiopia Tikur Anbessa, CaliforniaJBC Coffee Roasters, Gedeb Lot 83 Ethiopia Natural, WisconsinMetric Coffee Company, El Willay, Peru, IllinoisMudhouse Coffee Roasters, Limu Dabesa, Ethiopia, VirginiaNoble Coffee Roasting, Ethiopian ‘Bishan Fugu’, OregonNoble Coyote Coffee Roasters, Ethiopian Guji – Organic – Natural Process, TexasOnyx Coffee Lab, Ethiopian Buku, ArkansasOQ Coffee Co., Kayon Mountain Estate, Ethiopia, New JerseyOzo Coffee Roasters, Ethiopia Hambela Kirite, ColoradoPachamama Coffee Cooperative, Organic Ethiopia Kossa Geshe & Organic Ethiopia Natural Amaro, CaliforniaPer’La Specialty Roasters, Ethiopia Shakiso, FloridaRadio Roasters Coffee, Ethiopia Organic Guji Shakiso, GeorgiaRevel Coffee, Ethiopia Kayon Mountain Guji Dry, MontanaRoyal Mile Coffee, Ethiopia Shakiso Mormora Farm, New JerseySquare One Coffee, Ethiopia Shakiso Mormora, PennsylvaniaTico Coffee Roasters, Ethiopia Gotiti, CaliforniaTopeca Coffee Roasters, Ethiopia Ardi, OklahomaVashon Coffee Company, Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Natural Daniel Miju, Washington

Winners will be announced on Friday, Jan. 19, 2018, at a Good Food Awards gala in San Francisco, which will be followed by two days of consumer-friendly GFA events.

Nick Brown Nick Brown is the editor of Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine. Feedback and story ideas are welcome at publisher@dailycoffeenews.com.

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