Amongst all the tumult that has been the month of November in the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand and Twenty—multiple hurricanes battering Central America, the US presidential election/clumsily-executed attempted coup, the exponential spike of COVID cases in a country where the count is already exceptionally high—there has nonetheless been some good news. Some Good Food Awards news.

The finalists for the 2021 Good Food Awards have been announced, and there’s a lot of coffee.

Now in its 11th year, the Good Food Awards “exists to celebrate, connect, empower and leverage the passionate and engaged, yet often overlooked, players in the food system who are driving towards tasty, authentic and responsible food in order to humanize and reform our American food culture.” Focused equally on taste as traceability and sustainability, the GFAs were one of the first awards programs to recognize coffee as an artisanal product created by masters of their craft (though an award focused on localism having a coffee category in a country that doesn’t really grow any will always be weird to me, but whatever). Past winners have been a who’s who in coffee roasting, from major industry names like Intelligentsia, Blue Bottle, Olympia, Equator Coffees, and Onyx Coffee Lab to then-rising stars Tandem, ReAnimator, and Ruby.

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And this year proves to be no different. There are familiar names amongst the field of finalist—Bird Rock, PT’s, Noble, and JBC Coffee—along with a few fresh faces like Abracadabra, Big Creek, and Greater Goods. And perhaps the biggest—and most welcome—change in the 2021 finalists list: not all the coffees are from Ethiopia!

The Finalists are:

Abracadabra Coffee Co., Mexico Finca Santa Cruz Natural, Vermont
Bend Roasting Company, Layered Fermentation from Abore Washing Station Shatawene Village Sidamo, Oregon
Big Creek Coffee Roasters, Ethiopia Guji Uraga, Montana
Bird Rock Coffee Roasters, Cerro Azul, California
Blossom Coffee Roasters, Organic Kenya Kiambu Muiri Estate AA, Washington
Campos Coffee USA, Colombia La Negrita Natural Geisha, Utah
Chocolate Fish Coffee Roasters, Finca San Luis, Colombia, California
Crimson Cup Coffee, Natural Gesha, Oxapampa, Ohio
Eastlick Coffee Company, Sudan Rume, Inmaculada Coffee Farms, Florida
Evermore Coffee Roasters, Panama El Letrero – Creativa Natural, New Jersey
Giv Coffee, Halo Beriti, Connecticut
Greater Goods Coffee Co., Suke Quto, Texas
H+S Coffee Roasters, Ecuador Galo Morales Flores, Wyoming
Huckleberry Roasters, Phantom Limb Blend, Colorado
JBC Coffee Roasters, Ardent Ethiopia Natural, Wisconsin
Joe Bean Roasters, Costa Rica Café Rivense del Chirripó Las Torres Natural, New York
Modest Coffee, The Collector: Costa Rica – Familia Monge, Illinois
Mr. Espresso, Organic Ethiopia Shantewene, Natural Process, California
Noble Coffee Roasting, Ethiopia ‘Benti Nenqa’ and Kenya ‘Muiri Estate’ {Peaberry}, Oregon
Onyx Coffee Lab, Panama Lamastus Family, Arkansas
Peach Coffee Roasters, Costa Rica Cordillera de Fuego, Georgia
Per’La Specialty Roasters, Ethiopia Natural Sidamo Durato Bombe, Florida
PT’s Coffee Roasting Co., Ethiopia Tigesit Waqa Natural and Colombia Café Granja La Esperanza Sudan Rume Natural, Kansas
Rothrock Coffee, Tuma Tesso, Pennsylvania
Triple Coffee Co., Pacamara Natural (Abel Giron, Honduras), California

And in the Good Food Awards as in life, coffee simply cannot be contained to a single category. Products containing coffee have found their way to the Finalist list for four other categories, including Chocolate (Creo Chocolate‘s Coffee & Cream White Chocolate), Confections (Chocolatay Confections‘ Coffee Caramel Bar), and Snacks (Small Batch Organics‘ Coffee Bean Granola Bark). And Oak Cliff Coffee Roasters, a three-time Good Food Award winner in the Coffee category (2016, 2019, and 2020), has expanded their GFA portfolio, earning Finalist nods for non-coffee products with their Black Cherry Lime Kefir in the Elixirs category and their Bean to Bar Brownies, Bean to Bar Chip Cookies, and Nib Nut Butter Cookies from sister brand 5 Mile Chocolate in the Snacks category.

Because this is still a pandemic year, the Good Food Awards ceremony has forgone the in-person festivities, instead offering a completely digital event. The livestreamed ceremony will take place Friday, January 22nd, with “celebratory tastings” and a pop-up shop with all the winning wares to follow shortly thereafter. For more information on the Good Food Awards—the judging criteria, a full list of Finalists, or how to attend the announcement ceremony—visit their official website.

Zac Cadwalader is the managing editor at Sprudge Media Network and a staff writer based in Dallas. Read more Zac Cadwalader on Sprudge.

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