2010 logo

Cup Of Excellence Coffee

Cup of Excellence Coffees

The Cup of Excellence™, was created in 1999. It is a program designed to help break the commodity/price cycle in the specialty coffee industry. It has two parts: a rigorous competition identifying the best single-origin coffees of a country’s harvest, followed by a web auction of these coffees to coffee roasters worldwide. The competitions are held in the participant producing countries.

Stringent three-stage yearly competitions are held in each of these countries to find the very best, specially prepared, boutique lots of coffee. The third stage of the competition involves an international jury composed of Specialty coffee buyers from around the world who are recognized industry experts in cupping and evaluating these one-of-a-kind coffees.

Not only has the Cup of Excellence™ competition highlighted and spurred developments in quality coffee production, but these coffees have also consistently fetched prices many times those available in the traditional market or through programs such as Fair Trade. Furthermore, a whopping 85% of the bid prices go to the farmers. Winners of these competitions experience their veils of anonymity torn away and their becoming sought after by competing quality buyers. Their neighbors and even their regions benefit from intensified interest and visits by quality-seeking roasters. Today competition/auctions are spreading, with Cup of Excellence™ leading the way, and are helping to improve the lives of farmers who invest in real craftsmanship. The Cup of Excellence™ is proving that the reward for quality can have a long-lasting effect in the struggle to achieve economic sustainability for coffee farmers.

What makes these coffees so special?

Coffees of this exemplary quality are very rare. These coffees are perfectly ripe, carefully picked with well developed body, pleasant aroma and a lively sweetness that only extremely high quality specialty coffees contain. Each winning coffee has its own flavor signature from the earth where it grows and all have been handcrafted in such a way as to enhance these unique characteristics.

How Many Coffees are awarded The Cup of Excellence?

The number of coffees given this prestigious award depends entirely on the quality of the entrants. The requirements are so strict that very few coffees from a country are honored in this way.

Who buys these winning coffees?

Coffee connoisseurs worldwide with discerning palates who appreciate the complex flavor and aromatics found in a world class coffee buy and savor these winners. The roaster who buys these coffees cares about providing the highest quality to his customers as well as creating a direct relationship with the winning farmer.


How important is this award to a coffee farmer?

Winning farmers are exhilarated to be acknowledged for their dedication to quality. Not only is the farmer given a prestigious award during a national ceremony but the majority of the record prices at auction go back to the producers who deserve and need it. In addition the farmer is now recognized in the industry as being a quality producer. A winning farm and often the whole region can expect to receive future visits from roasters looking to buy more quality coffee for their companies. The positive impact on the quality of life for a winning farmer and his family is permanent as the auction money will often be spent on farm improvements or family education which can change their economic livelihood for the long term even if they do not win every year.

Who started the Cup of Excellence competition?

Cup of Excellence was started by a group of dedicated coffee connoisseurs who along with international governmental support and NGOs thought that a competition and auction was an effective way to recognize farmers monetarily for their hard work and effort. It is now known that in addition to this the discovery of unknown and yet phenomenal coffees creates an excitement among roasters and consumers that is unparalleled. As multiple coffee producing countries have joined the program they are sharing beneficial information with each other and the supporting roasters have created a kind of Cup of Excellence family. To learn more about the CoE history click on www.cupofexcellence.org .