- On November 7, 2017
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COE stands for “Cup of Excellence” and is a coffee competition held by ACE “Alliance for Coffee Excellence” in coffee producing countries like El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Brasil, Colombia, Burundi, Peru, Guatemala, and Costa Rica. Basically, it’s a competition where craftsman coffee farmers submit their best coffees of that season to be judged and scored by an international panel of coffee professionals. Only the top 30 farms in that coffee producing country make it into the auction. The top 30 are selected by a panel of international coffee pro’s acting as the judges and performing evaluations of all the coffees submitted and then scoring and ranking those coffees.
Once the top 30 coffees are judged, scored and ranked, roasters like us compete in an online bidding to win one of these amazing lots. In summer 2017, Vigilante Coffee participated in two COE auctions, Nicaragua & Honduras. We were the only North American coffee company to win a lot from Nicaragua (#23) paying $7.80/lb to the farmer for their coffee. Our Honduran COE placed 23rd as well and we paid $10.80/lb to the farmer.
To give you perspective, specialty coffee roasters typically pay on average $3.00-$4.50/lb for top quality specialty coffee from Honduras and Nicaragua. This means that the farmers we supported in this competition earned as much as 2-3 times what they normally could have.
Why we participate and bid?
Because we have witnessed and participated directly in these competitions in the past and we have seen first hand the positive impact they can have. We see that the competitions both reward and teach producers they can be paid top dollar for top quality. We also believe this is a great way to start a business relationship. “You grow the best coffees, I’ll pay you top price for them. In the future, let’s work together in a bigger way, making a bigger purchase and agreeing to pay a premium for high scoring coffees.”
We know the judges, we know many of the producers competing, and because of this, we know these coffees are going to be good, if not great! The panel of professionals judging these coffees tell us these are going to be exceptional quality coffee. We have trust in these panels and so far we have not been disappointed.
What are the benefits of buying a Cup of Excellence coffee?
-Provides an avenue to give back to the farmer for their hard work and their attention to detail for these specific coffees.
-It benefits Vigilante Coffee by creating a relationship based on quality and the opportunity to continue to work with and develop these coffees with producers for years to come. For example, in 2018, we plan to buy 3x the quantity we did this year from our COE Nicaragua partner, El Lovo.
-It tells our customers and peers in the coffee community that we’re a company that supports positive initiatives like Cup of Excellence
-It rewards sustainability because the farms participating utilize the best practices to achieve top quality. This serves as an example in their own local farming communities to adopt similar practices and create sustainable ways of growing specialty coffee.
-Exposes our customers and our employees to some of the highest quality coffees in the world. Which fulfills our company mission to source and roast the very best coffees in the world.
This fall we are stoked to release two new COE coffees, Nicaragua “El Lovo” & Honduras “La Fortuna”. By purchasing these coffees you are directly supporting COE & the mission to create excellent and sustainable coffee. Thank you to the farmers that grew these coffees and thank you to our customers who make all of this possible.
Onward & Upward,