2012

Alliance for Coffee Excellence

[iconbox title=”Contact Name: Susie Spindler” icon=”adress_book.png”]
Website: www.cupofexcellence.org
Location: Various Coffee Growing Countries
Email Address: susies@cupofexcellence.org
Phone Number: 406-542-3509[/iconbox]

Project Description

AThe Cup of Excellence is the most stringent compeititon for top quality coffees in the world. It awards a country’s best coffees and sells them to the highest bidder during a global internet auction. It is open to all farmers equally without a fee and the rules are structured to allow any farmer that produces exceptional quality to win regardless or economics or gender. These winning coffees are chosen by a select group of national and international cuppers.

Coffees of this exemplary quality are 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. The competition’s extrememly stringent quality selection procedures with a focus on balanced acidity and perfect sweetness have set a global standard for those cuppers looking for top coffees. Roasters that have these beautiful coffees on their shelves find that their customers are more engaged and are more likely to appreciate the differentiated flavor profiles that only top coffees can that generate.

The Cup of Excellence program has had huge impacts on both the farmers and on the specialty industry worldwide. Before there was Cup of Excellence much of the world’s coffees were blended together, therefore causing a commodity-like sameness even in the specialty industry. The result of the now 75 Cup of Excellence competitions has been to reinvent an industry that is now focused on unique qualtities, micro climates, varietals and on constant discovery of quality protection and farmer recognition.While the fear was that the competition would cherry pick the best coffees and leave the rest, it has had the opposite effect, and has actually increased the total amount of quality coffees exported at a premium from COE partner countries.

The coffees that have been discovered and sold at auction have allowed a new group of specialty roasters focused on extremely high quality coffees and buildng relationships with farmers to thrive. The open auction for these award winning coffees has supported a restructuring of top pricing and reset what is possible for farmers that produce incredible coffees. The fact that the COE program forces transparency, chain of custody and a large financial reward to the winning farmers has given thousands of farmers a reason to know the value of their coffees- to learn to cup- to harvest more carefully and to feel more secure that if they work hard there will be economic support. It has also given their children an exciting reason to stay on the farm as proud coffee farmers.

Who Benefits From This Project?

The Cup of Excellence fundamentally changes what we know is possible in an exemplary coffee. This benefits the entire coffee chain because it engages the consumer in a discussion centered on the joy of quality coffee.Often these award-winning coffees are so good that consumers expectations of what a coffee can taste like are definitely exceeded.

Many roasters and importers have relied on the COE results to find the high quality farmers their businesses depend on and have found a new demographic of customers who apprecaite quality and are willing to pay for it. Cup of Excellence is an important variable in the Direct Trade movement.

The benefit to the winning farmer is obvious but the entire region benefits from the recognition as buyers visit all of the surrounding farms as well. The payment to the coffee farmers for their coffee is more than Fair. The vast majority of the auction proceeds go to the farmer, the rest to the organinzing committee. ACE does not make money on the auctions. There is no other program that is as exciting for the coffee lover, the roasters and especially the farmers whose monetary reward often changes the lives of their entire family and the rural communities where they live.

Cup of Excellence builds international relationships and cooperation in many forms. Cooperation is the key to success, appreciation is the mantra and friendships and lasting partnerships are critical. It is one of the few programs that puts its main focus on individual empowerment, training and education with no consideration of gender or economic status.

How Can I Help?

EBecome a member of Alliance for Coffee Excellence. Register on line. Sign up for samples, join a jury, or simply support ACE with your membership. A small fee to support a global non-profit organization making a difference.

An ACE membership with samples and auctions gives the international coffee
community the opportunity to bid for award-winning coffees which in turn
provides the support to farmers ensuring quality for the future.
Visit www.cupofexcellence.org to view membership benefits.

Support your local roaster. Look for and buy Cup of Excellence roasted coffees from your favorite cafes and roastery worldwide.
Most importantly, brew and drink COE Coffees and reflect on the farmers who make it possible for ACE to change the world of coffee. Thank you for your kind consideration.

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