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Cup of Excellence Turns to M-Cultivo for Revamped Auction Platform and Marketplace

M-Cultivo COE

The new-look CoE auction, courtesy of the contract with Georgia-based startup M-Cultivo.

Auctions in the long-running Cup of Excellence (CoE) green coffee programs will have a new look and feature set beginning this month, thanks to a new partnership between the nonprofit CoE and United States-based auction technology company M-Cultivo.

Launched in Georgia in 2020, M-Cultivo provides coffee-specific online auction and marketplace solutions, with a stated mission to improve market access and efficiency for coffee farmers and producers.

Cup of Excellence and its sister nonprofit the Alliance for Coffee Excellence previously used an auction technology platform created by the UK firm Sensible Development.

The first auction reflecting the M-Cultivo contract is the Costa Rica “National Winners” auction, running Aug. 1-12. The first CoE winners auction in the relationship will be Nicaragua on Thursday, Aug. 4. The auctions are hosted on the M-Cultivo site, offering buyers a new look and new features, including an integrated payment function.

“The new platform will offer a check-out process on winning bids with multiple payment options including credit card and wire transfer. Credit card fees will be passed on to the buyer to avoid extra costs for producers,” CoE/ACE said in an announcement of the new platform. “Shipping options will also be expanded and managed directly at check out allowing buyers to select options including: air-freight, consolidated air-freight, ocean freight, and self-managed.”

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Additional features for buyers will include information about and photos related to each winning coffee; customizable auto-bidding options such as increment levels and maximum bids; and on-demand support chat.

CoE and ACE also say the M-Cultivo platform will also offer “robust back-end lot management for in-country organizations and producers,” in order to promote efficiency and best results for coffee sellers.

“Our goal is to support COE and ACE as they expand their auction and event services to better scale their market access and financial impact for coffee producers,” M-Cultivo Founder and CEO David Paparelli, formerly the director of development at Thrive Farmers Coffee, said in the announcement. “M-Cultivo is thrilled to build an evolved, scaled model for various auction types that not only provides more opportunities for quality discovery and direct-trade relationships, but will provide a more streamlined user experience for buyers.”

ACE and M-Cultivo previously collaborated for a pilot green coffee sales program featuring high-quality Brazilian microlot coffees called Brazil Select in 2021.

The organizations are currently collaborating on a similar direct-to-roaster marketplace that will feature beans from approximately 80 individual Ethiopian coffee farmers who previously submitted lots to CoE. That marketplace is scheduled to run from Aug. 8 through Sept. 15 of this year.

Said CoE Executive Director Darrin Daniel, “As a nonprofit, we feel this work with a group committed to enriching farmer livelihoods is key to our strategic plan for the future.”

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