Twenty one coffees from Brazil recently shattered previous auction price highs at the Brazil early harvest pulped naturals Cup of Excellence auction, operated by the Alliance for Coffee Excellence. It was the 100th auction in the Cup of Excellence program, which fittingly debuted with a Brazil auction in 1999.
A winning coffee from the Fazenda Ouro Verde farm in the Piatã region, scored at 94 throughout the rigorous Cup of Excellence cupping process, fetched $50.20 per pound, beating a previous record from 2005. A buying group representing Japan, Australia Taiwan and the United States was behind the winning bid. Meanwhile, the average price of all 21 coffees auctioned was $11.65, beating the previous average high price in 2012 by nearly $3 per pound.
A big part of ACE’s mission through Cup of Excellence is to shine a light on growing regions and individual farms that may not otherwise be able to connect with international buyers seeking highly rated and exceptional coffees. That mission may be nowhere more challenging than in Brazil, where high-end differentiation can be overshadowed by sheer volume and a national-level reputation for coffees grown at lower altitudes. Over the years, Cup of Excellence has had as powerful a hand as any in helping realize quality differentiation throughout the country’s coffee regions.
Says Cup of Excellence founder and ACE Executive Director Susie Spindler, “Going forward the program will continue to discover unknown and under-appreciated coffee farmers and allow them to prosper.”
Interestingly, each of the coffees that scored in the top five in the Brazil Early Harvest COE came from Piatã region, which, as ACE describes, “has not previously garnered significant attention from the world’s premier roasters and importers.” In fact, the top 12 scored coffees in the auction all came from Piatã or the more well-known Matas de Minas region of Minas Gerais.
Japan and Australia were well-represented on the list of high-bidders for the 21 winning coffees, while North American roasters and importers buying Brazilian Cup of Excellence winners included Espresso Vivace, Coffee Tree Roasters and Cafe Imports.