The Dutch green coffee trading company Trabocca is preparing to host The Ethiopian Cup, an awards and auction program designed to highlight some of the finest coffees the progenitorial coffee country has to offer.
The Amsterdam-based importer, which maintains deep sourcing ties in Ethiopia, introduced the auction program last year under the name Operation Cherry Red. Trabocca Founder Menno Simons said in an announcement shared with Daily Coffee News that the new name “resonates more with the identity of the people behind the coffee.”
Made possible by the country-wide loosening of restrictions formerly requiring all coffees to be sold through the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX), the auction last year resulted in $96,292 in premiums being returned directly to producers, beyond the initial $5 per pound initially paid to secure the coffees.
With the 2019 auction scheduled for Thursday, June 27, Trabocca is currently organizing international jury cuppings to take place May 22-24. The jury will include: Rubens Gardelli of Gardelli Specialty Coffees (Italy); Ryan Knapp of Madcap Coffee (USA), Katy Keisling of Stumptown Coffee Roasters (USA), Anette Moldvaer of Square Mile Coffee Roasters (UK), Myung Geun Kim of Coffee Libre (South Korea), Scott Tedder of Bonanza Coffee (Germany), Jose Aguilar of Monmouth Coffee (UK), Lee Jong Hoon of Coffee Graffiti (South Korea), and Lex Wenneker of Friedhats Coffee Roasters (The Netherlands).
In 2018, the auction resulted in 34 traceable Ethiopian splits of lots from 12 different producers receiving a minimum bid of $7.50 per pound or higher, with nine of those fetching at least $15 per pound. A coffee from smallholder farmer Tibebu Roba from the Gedeb received an auction-high price of $38.50 per pound.
“The Ethiopian Cup is part of Trabocca’s mission to deliver Ethiopia’s best coffees to roasters worldwide while contributing to thriving coffee communities,” Simons said. “We believe that the auction premiums act as tools to empower growers. Especially when coffee market prices are at a 23-year low, we find it necessary to present an alternative. Auctions like The Ethiopian Cup are not a fix-all solution to the multifaceted problem of coffee prices, but they give the Ethiopian growers the recognition they deserve.”
Registration information and additional detail on the Ethiopian Cup can be found here.