If you happened to tune into a live video feed of the El Salvador Cup of Excellence auction yesterday, you would have seen a large group of producers dancing with smiling faces along with some traditional Salvadoran music booming in the background.
They had good reason to be happy. The 2017 auction, organized by the nonprofit Alliance for Coffee Excellence and in-country partners following a successful 2017 Cup of Excellence quality competition, shattered previous CoE El Salvador auction records, with numerous international coffee buyers offering more than $95 USD per pound for a honey-processed Pacamara coffee from the Santa Rosa Farm. The previous individual high in El Salvador was $50.10.
After the CoE international jury awarded the coffee a 91+ score during the competition, the coffee was divided into two lots for the auction — one with six 30-kilo boxes and one with five — and five coffee companies combined for the winning bids of $95.70 and $95.50. Japan’s Maruyama Coffee and Tao Coffee combined to purchase one of the lots, while the other went to the Korean companies Pon Pon Coffee, Sarutahiko Coffee and Mesh Coffee.
The auction represents a major win for the Santa Rosa farm — founded in 1979 by Jorge Raul Rivera near the municipality of La Palma in Chalatenango Department — but also for the Pacamara variety, known not only for its extraordinarily large bean size, but now also for its quality potential throughout the country.
The second- and third-highest earning coffees from the auction — coming from Maria Elena Avila’s Ausol farm and Gloria Mercedes Rodríguez’s Finca Nejapa, respectively — each earned well over $20 per pound. Buyers of those coffees hailed from China, Italy and Estonia.
The average price for all 26 lots sold through the auction was $13.65 per pound, generating some more than $350,000 for the producers involved. To qualify for the auction, each coffee was rigorously cupped throughout the competition and scored at least 86 points.
“It was so exciting,” CoE in-country partner Paola Salazar de Góchez of The Consejo Salvadoreño del Café said of the auction in a press release from ACE. “It was a really excellent welcome back to CoE for El Salvador after not doing the program in 2015. Everyone is so very happy.”