The Cup of Excellence (COE) will be held in Ethiopia for the first time in March 2020.
The event is possible thanks to a continuing partnership between the Alliance for Coffee Excellence, the Ethiopian Coffee and Tea Authority, the United States Agency for International Development and Feeding the Ethiopian Future Value Chain (FTFE-VCA).
"Nationwide buy-in from trading houses, cooperatives and coffee unions has been quick and positive," says Ian Chesterman, director of the FTFE-VCA project. "Prioritizing open collaboration between the public and private sectors from the outset will help ensure that competition benefits all stakeholders, particularly our small producer customers."
The COE will highlight Ethiopian coffee and stimulate new market opportunities for small producers in the country.
"The competition has finally come home, where the best natural coffee is produced," says producer Zenabu Alem. "I look forward to getting into my coffee in the competition."
Dr. Adunga Debela, General Director of the Ethiopian Tea and Coffee Authority, says the COE will open doors for small producers on the world stage, giving them a platform to show Ethiopian coffee.
"Coffee is not just a crop of money for us. It is part of our tradition and who we are as Ethiopians, competition is not only a promotional tool for the world market, but also an exciting event for Ethiopia, "says Adunga Debela.
It is believed that coffee was discovered in Ethiopia 1200 years ago, featuring more than 6,000 varieties, with 95 percent of the coffee qualifying as organic. Ethiopia is one of the largest coffee producers in Africa, with an annual output of more than 500,000 tons.
"Almost two decades after our foundation, it has long been the dream of bringing COE into the cradle of coffee. Ethiopia represents the special origin of specialty coffee and with our program operating in Ethiopia, we hope to discover and reward even more small farmers who need market access through competition and auctioning, "says Darrin Daniel, CEO of Alliance for Coffee Excellence.
COE is a competition to find the highest quality coffee in any country. Every year, thousands of coffees are submitted to consideration, with award-winning coffees sold at global online auctions at premium prices, with the vast majority of auction revenues targeting farmers.
All COE award winners are selected at least five times (the top ten are tied again) during the three-week competition. Hundreds of cups are smelled, tasted and judged based on their characteristics.
The COE has been discovering coffees, rewarding growers and creating markets for these coffees since 1999.