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16th Nicaragua Cup of Excellence Auction Breaks Price Records


2020 Nicaragua Cup of Excellence coffee producer Tania Ferrufino. Courtesy photo.

Underscoring the vast price disparity between the commodity coffee market and the high-end specialty market, the auction from the 16th Nicaragua Cup of Excellence program resulted in a record-breaking average price of more than $12 per pound of green coffee.

Winning bids for the 17 Nicaragua Cup of Excellence-winning coffees totaled more than $192,000. According to auction organizer the Alliance for Coffee Excellence, the commodity price for arabica futures contracts (i.e. the “C price”) on the day of the auction was sitting below $1 per pound as coffee producers face an ongoing price crisis. As of this writing, December arabica futures were at a paltry $1.026 per pound.

Political unrest resulted in the cancelation of the 2019 Nicaragua COE, and the COVID-19 pandemic created new challenges for hosting the competition and auction in 2020. ACE and in-country partner CONTRADEC brought buyers and sellers in a Zoom room together for the auction.

“We are thankful for the participating buyers who believed in Nicaragua,” Miguel Obando, national co-director for the Nicaraguan Institute of Agricultural Technology, said in a press announcement televised throughout Nicaragua following the event. “Today is a celebration to recognize the efforts of farmers from bean to cup.”

Half the lot of the first-place coffee, a natural-process Macaturra variety from the farm Un Regalo de Dios, fetched $36.90 per pound from a consortium of buyers that included Maruyama Coffee (Japan), Cometeer (USA), Goodboybob Coffee (USA), Sugi Coffee Roasting (Japan), and Harrods (UK). The other half of that lot was purchased by Takamura Coffee Roasters (Japan) for $30.30 per pound.

Martha Lucia Albir

2020 Nicaragua Cup of Excellence coffee producer Martha Lucia Albir. Courtesy photo.

No coffee on the list of winners fetched less than $8.60 per pound. An anaerobic-process H3 hybrid produced by Tania Ferrufino fetched more than $10.30 per pound from buyer Kaffebrenneriet, a Norwegian roaster.

“I feel very grateful to have participated in this year’s COE Nicaragua,” Tania Ferrufino, who recently took over her family’s coffee farm with her brother, said in a post-auction announcement from ACE. “I want to give special thanks to our team at Finca Fátima, there were a lot of talented hands involved in the processing and preparation of this lot and I feel honored every day to work with all of you.”

Click here for a list of upcoming COE auctions.