Billed as the most prestigious coffee competition in the world, Cup of Excellence is designed to reward and encourage coffee growers who are working to create coffees of the highest quality. Specialty coffee is all about the chain of people – from farmer to coffee drinker – being committed to supporting quality coffee and Cup of Excellence is a brilliant example of what can be achieved with that support.
Launching with the ‘Best of Brazil’ in 1999, Cup of Excellence was the brainchild of the Alliance for Coffee Excellence, an international group of coffee professionals who were all working in their own country to try and improve the industry. At this point in time coffee was primarily treated purely as a commodity – sold by the pound, often with the lots of several producers blended together and sold in bulk.
There was little incentive for the farmer to raise the quality above the average of their area – everyone received the same price and there was no traceability back to the farm, so why expend unnecessary resources and time?
The introduction of a competition and live auction changed all that.
Cup of Excellence competition is open to all farmers in the country of origin, with each farmer receiving free entry for one sample.