Directly from the Alliance for Coffee Excellence, the organizer of the Cup of Excellence Competitions:
Cup of Excellence is the most prestigious competition and auction for high quality coffees. The level of scrutiny that Cup of Excellence coffees undergo is unmatched anywhere in the specialty coffee industry. Each year, thousands of coffees are submitted for consideration, with winning coffees sold in global online auctions at premium prices, with the vast majority of auction proceeds going to the farmers.
The Cup of Excellence competition has pioneered integrity and transparency in the coffee industry, ensuring the value of winning coffees. Each sample entering the competition process is assigned a number known only to the auditor for each competition, and each jury member cups the coffee blind. In addition, each lot is documented through the entire process so that winning coffees are traceable to the farm and exact micro-lot.
Since 1999, the Cup of Excellence (COE) program has set the standard for the increased premiums that farmers have been able to receive for their exemplary coffees. It continues to build a much more transparent infrastructure and gives farmers the tools needed to improve the economic model of their farms. COE raises funds for coffees farmers in coffee growing countries incentivizing and motivating farmers who know there can be a recognition and financial reward for their hard work and effort.