Global Coffee Centers (GCCs)

Cup of Excellence is continuing our mission to support coffee farmers during the pandemic.  The world and the coffee industry were put to the test in 2020 to continue doing business during an unexpected and unprecedented pandemic.  The spirit of COE was brought to light in 2020 with the auctions raising over $4.5 million USD for farmers.  As we kept the program going, farmers responded by participating in larger numbers than we’ve seen in past years.  And buyers stepped up to help us realize our mutual mission to discover and reward excellent coffee farmers by bidding in the auctions. In 2021, we’re proud to be working in a record 12 countries.  We are excited to find more gems for these auctions and hope that we all get back to normal soon.  Until then, we’ll continue to work our modified competition with protocols that keep all actors involved safe and healthy.  

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, we are not currently hosting International Juries in country.


(2020 Peru National Week)

2021 Competition and Auctions

Cup of Excellence will be held in a record 12 countries, with 2 new countries, Ecuador and Indonesia. Honduras and Mexico will return  this year after a one year hiatus.  However, due to the ongoing Covid crisis the in-country international jury week will not be held in-country for the first 8 countries.   Instead we will again send the coffees passing to the international phase to global coffee centers (GCCs) around the world.   For Ecuador, Peru, Brazil and Indonesia, we are continuing to monitor the global pandemic and will share if and how we plan to receive international judges in these countries.

What is a Global Coffee Center (GCC)?

A GCC is a coffee lab where experienced COE international judges evaluate the international phase qualifying coffees to select the coffees that will go to the Cup of Excellence and National Winner auctions.  All companies and judges involved are volunteering their time and resources to evaluate the COE coffees.  GCCs are longtime supporters of COE and follow protocols developed specifically to uphold the COE standards.  Like the traditional jury selection process, there is a limited number of GCCs that will be selected.  We will consider broad country representation on the panel including the Americas, Europe and Asia.  For judges we will consider, skill and attitude according to statistics and contribution to previous COE juries.  Countries will be assigned to the GCC, but GCCs cannot choose the countries they evaluate.


(Maruyama Coffee GCC)

Selection Criteria to Become a GCC

Companies must

  • Be a member of ACE
  • Have participated in past COE Auctions
  • Have at least 2-3 experienced COE/PCA judges
  • Be committed to evaluate 4 countries before mid-year 2021
  • Be committed to evaluate coffees as soon as possible
  • Be available during required evaluation periods
  • Assign 1 main contact person for continuous communication with COE

Judges must

  • Be a skilled cupper willing to adhere to competition protocols
  • Be a professional working in the coffee industry
  • Understand and speak English
  • Score using Cropster Cup app, training/instructions will be provided
  • Be available during required evaluation periods

Labs must

  • Be SCA or CQI certified or have a detailed discussion with COE describing equipment and space
  • Have sufficient support staff and equipment available to prepare 40 samples per day and to clean equipment
  • Follow all protocols and instructions of COE process, including signing waivers and releases

Inquire about becoming a GCC

There is no application process to become a GCC.  GCCs are invited based on the selection criteria.  If you are interested in becoming a GCC contact [email protected].  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.

Support Specialty Coffee Farmers

It’s simple: become a member of Alliance for Coffee Excellence, register for sample sets and bid in the auctions. 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.  If you are not in the position to do any of these but still want to help, please join as a TAZA member for $5/month.  

New Protocols 

In order to complete the competition process in a safe way while maintaining a high standard, COE developed cleaning protocols.  We are sharing the extensive cleaning protocols that will be used in each country so you can 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. 

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