Cup of Excellence Program Update from Erin Wang, Senior Manager of Cup of Excellence

 In In The News

2020 Competition Updates

As we continue to navigate our way through this unprecedented time and deal with extraordinary challenges, we remain committed to our farmers and our mission.  ACE is planning to continue the coffee collection and competition process with safe and modified protocols in Ethiopia, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Costa Rica and Guatemala.  However, in these 5 countries, the in-country international jury week will not happen, instead of inviting international judges to these countries, we will be sending the international stage qualifying coffees to newly formed Global Coffee Centers (GCC) around the world to select the coffees that will go to the Cup of Excellence and National Winner auctions.  Since we are responding in different ways to each country’s specific restrictions, we will be uploading on the ACE website the competition process for each competition once it is complete.

Sadly, Honduras and Mexico have both been cancelled by the government due to extreme travel bans.  We continue to monitor the situation for the fall competitions of COE Colombia, Peru and Brazil and at the moment we are planning on completing these competitions in the normal process.  We are still working with our new programs in Ecuador and Indonesia to see if we will be able to realize a competition due to the new environment.

New Protocols 

In order to complete the competition process in a safe way while maintaining a high standard, ACE has been developing protocols for cleaning, cupping and the new GCCs.  We are sharing the new extensive cleaning protocols that will be used in each country so you can review and use them in your own labs. We are using a new cupping method called Individual Set Cupping.  This method was developed specifically for the COE competition process, when followed it eliminates the possibility for cross contamination and allows the judges to cup and score in the way they are accustomed. The first two stages of the competition (preselection and national) will be held in country.  The final stage (international) will be held at the GCCs.

Cup of Excellence Cleanliness Protocol


Global Coffee Centers (GCC)

The criteria used to identify the GCCs were that they have been longtime supporters of COE and the judges chosen within those GCCs mostly have served 15+ times on a COE international jury.  Each GCC will follow protocols developed specifically to uphold the COE standards including competition organization, roasting, coffee preparation and discussion. The GCCs are ACE Lab, Campos Coffee, Kaffebrenneriet, Maruyama Coffee Co, Terarosa and Wataru & Co.  Thank you to the many COE supporters who have offered to host a GCC, we are trying to keep the number of GCCs manageable for the coordination of our partner organizations and for the amount of farmers’ coffee used in this process.

Sending international stage coffees around the world will create a delay in final results compared to the normal four-day process.  This means we have new auction dates and samples will be prepared and sent from each country as soon as possible after the results are revealed.

2020 Auction Dates


Support Specialty Coffee Farmers

We know this is a hard time for the entire specialty coffee industry.  COE has supported farmers for over 20 years.  COE embodies the spirit of transparency, traceability and rewarding farmers within the specialty coffee industry and the farmers need help in support in the upcoming auctions.  Please help us in realizing our mission to discover and reward excellent coffee farmers by bidding in the auctions. Now, more than ever, every bid counts. Become a member if you are not already, register for sample sets and bid. The more bidders in the auction, the more money raised for producers who are in turn empowered to continue pushing the envelope in specialty coffee innovation.    

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