Bidders back coffee farmers in Guatemala Cup of Excellence online auction

Aurelio Villatoro of Finca Villaure La Esperanza watching the auction. Image courtesy of the ACE

The Cup of Excellence community of specialty coffee roasters, importers and producers reportedly showed their strength more than ever in Alliance for Coffee Excellence’s recent Guatemala auction.

Within nine minutes of the auction opening, all 30 lots had bids – and the bidding continued for four and a half hours, resulting in new all-time Guatemala competition highs for average price per pound and top price. The average price per pound came in at $26.50, a 65% increase over the last record set in 2017. The top-scoring coffee in this year’s competition, a washed Gesha from El Socorro farm, was sold at a record high of $180.20/lb to Maruyama Coffee in Japan and a group of buyers in the US including Goodboybob, Cometeer, Puff Coffee, Bird Rock Roasters and PT’s Coffee. The new price paid was a 125% increase over the previous record of $80.20 set in 2008. The adoration for Guatemalan coffee proved its potency during this time of pandemic.

“I believe Guatemalan coffee is rich in flavor variety and the coffee produced by El Socorro symbolizes that,” said Kentaro Maruyama, CEO and founder of Maruyama Coffee, Alliance for Coffee Excellence (ACE) member and Guatemala Cup of Excellence Global Coffee Center judge. “I was thrilled by this outstanding coffee and scored it 97.5 points. It’s exactly like an all-star of flavors in one cup. Everyone in our buying group was beyond excited for this lot and desperate to win the bid. We are delighted to be able to purchase this coffee.”

Juan Diego de la Cerda, representative of El Socorro farm, said: “Farmers are completely happy and never expected the prices that were achieved. This is a success, not only for El Socorro, but for the country as well as achieving an average price per pound above $26.00.”

He added, “We (El Socorro) have been participating in the Cup of Excellence programme since 2007, and from then on, only two years we did not reach the auction. The experience has been very nice from the beginning. It has helped us to strengthen relationships with clients, some now that are over 10 years old. Creating relationships like these is the greatest success of this program. Any farmer can enter and participate in the program, but it does require plenty of effort and dedication. We have excellent coffee growers in Guatemala and everyone can participate.”

While winning producers watched the auction online and through a narrated livestream put on by in-country partners, Anacafé, buyers from around the world came together to back farmers by bidding in the auction. “At Cometeer, we’re thrilled to support the social and flavour-driven mission of the Alliance for Coffee Excellence, generate higher revenues for coffee producers around the world and share these coffees with our community down the line,” said Matt Roberts, co-founder & CEO of Cometeer and ACE member.

The other half of the top-scoring lot was purchased for $175.30/lb by Momos Coffee for the JOOYEON Selection created by 2019 World Barista Champion, Jooyeon Jeon. The second-place coffee was purchased by a buying group consisting of roasters from Taiwan, Hong Kong and South Korea.

The coffee is now getting shipped to winning bidders to roast and share with their customers. For more information on the winning bidders and details on the auction, visit: allianceforcoffeeexcellence.org/guatemala-2020.

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