Cafe Imports first developed the Best Cup competition alongside our Colombian export partner Banexport, with competitions focused in the regions of Huila and Cauca. Best Cup is a multi-day cupping competition and live auction of a selection of top-quality coffees, which are narrowed down from an extensive field of local producers’s top lots. Through the Best Cup auctions, our roaster partners have uncovered incredible coffees and made lasting connections with producers, while highlighting and rewarding hard work and dedication to quality.
Andrew Miller, founder and partner of Cafe Imports, was inspired by the success of the national Cup of Excellence competitions, and strongly felt that a similar auction-style buying event could also work on a more intimate, regional basis.
To date, Best Cup has provided farmers in Colombia more than $800,000 in direct quality premiums. In addition to offering tastes and discovery of some amazing lots of coffee, the competition also serves as a development tool, as we are able to identify and differentiate lots from producers who are interested in increasing their quality and showcasing their coffees’ performance and potential.
Inspired by Colombia’s great success, we’ve been able to branch out and bring Best Cup competitions to Carmo de Minas, Brazil, as well as Chalatenango, El Salvador—with more on the horizon.
By participating in the large-format cuppings and group calibrations, and by taking part in some of the most dynamic and exciting live auctions the specialty-coffee industry has ever seen, participants will not only gain a wealth of knowledge and experience, but will also have the potential to secure some of the best coffees in the world —all in a setting that literally unites and connects coffee producers and buyers in a lively, fast, authentic, and communal way.
In addition to the microlots available for bidding during the auction, attendees will also cup through tables of larger lots of “workhorse” coffees, to create opportunities for attendees to purchase multiple lots across a spectrum of quality, to completely fill the needs of their roasting companies while offering producers the ability to sell more of their crop within a relationship-based model. This exemplifies our goal of developing stratified coffee-buying opportunities, which benefit both producers and roasting companies by offering a wider range of lots with clearly defined price premiums and increased and improved traceability.
The nature and pace of these Best Cup competitions and auctions demands some cupping experience and a degree of comfort with assigning quality scores to coffees in a manner similar to the SCA grading standards and protocol. Feel free to ask us how to prepare for your time at the Best Cup competition; we will be happy to get you ready for this thrilling and unique buying opportunity!