Cup of Excellence Coffee
We've been fans of the Cup of Excellence coffee program for many years and have been fortunate to have managed to get our hands on a few Cup of Excellence winning coffees to share with you!
You might remember the outstanding Ethiopia Cup of Excellence coffee from Gemeda Elias Dube, who won 19th place at the 2020 competition with his natural processed coffee harvest from his small 7-hectare farm. This particular coffee scored a high 87.79 points!
What is Cup of Excellence?
The Cup of Excellence program has been running for over 20 years and focuses on encouraging and supporting coffee producers in their desire to produce very high quality microlots. The competition works by allowing coffee producers to submit samples to the competition. Typically a producer will select some of their best lots from the harvest and submit these to the competition.
The coffees are then evaluated in several stages, narrowing down the selection to those with the highest SCA cup score. Last year the coffees were evaluated by a global panel of judges with samples sent around the world. These scores are then put together to rank the coffees from 1 to 20. Joining the international jury is not easy as they are extremely selective and it's typically some of the best coffee experts in the world who are selected. This means that the scores given carry serious weight and the program can be fully trusted.
After scoring the coffees and awarding producers with a certificate, the coffees are sold at global online auctions. This is a great way for these coffees to be offered as they are open to any buyer willing to register. Doing this means that producers who have ranked in the top 20 are likely to receive very high prices for their outstanding coffees.
The most recent competition in Peru was won by a Hilda Leguia Gonzales who produced a 90 cup score Geisha on an Organic certified farm. This coffee sold for $112/kg which is a remarkable price! You can read more about the Peru Cup of Excellence Coffee pricing on the website. We've managed to secure some of the 4th and 8th place winners from the most recent Peru Cup of Excellence. These coffees both scored over 88 points!
Why is Cup of Excellence important?
The global coffee price is incredible low at around $1.50/lb. Once imported to the UK a coffee of this price will likely cost just £3 to buy in green bean form (including shipping fees) but will probably sell in a supermarket for around £12-15. If a coffee shop uses budget coffee like this they will likely make around £100 profit per 1kg with just £2 per kg going back to the producer. Of course, a coffee shop or restaurant owner will likely have very high overheads however the split in terms of profit doesn't seem particularly fair!
Direct trades helps to resolve some of this imbalance and the producers we work with typically earn no less than £3-£4 per kg of coffee produced. Many are able to produce good volumes of coffee so the economy of scale helps to ensure that they are able to make a profit.
Cup of Excellence adds an incentive to coffee producers to aim for the best quality micro-lots from the best varietals grown on their farms. These coffees are then awarded a score and sold for a price that can be up to 50x the C market price. In many cases, the sale of a single micro-lot through Cup of Excellence can clear an entire farms debt and can be truly life-changing.
So what about those that don't win? Well the benefits are often still felt by producers who do well but don't win a competition place. If a producer was selling coffees that scored 82-83 but now produces coffees in the 85-87 points range, they are very likely to be able to sell that coffee for 2x the price. This extra revenue can make a substantial difference even if it isn't a competition-winning coffee!
We are very pleased to be supporting the Cup of Excellence coffees. This year we have three fantastic Cup of Excellence coffees lined up, two from Peru and a natural to follow from Brazil. These will always be listed on our