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 president 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.
In 2017, we will host our first Best Cup outside of Colombia: Along with our Brazilian export partners Carmo Coffees, we are pleased to announce the first-ever Carmo Best Cup. Through this event, we hope to accomplish the same level of exciting discovery and microlot-development work in Brazil’s famous Carmo de Minas region, and, eventually, beyond.
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, you will not only gain a wealth of knowledge and experience, but you 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 along a spectrum of quality, to completely fill the needs of your roasting company 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!
Upcoming Coffee Auctions
El Salvador – Best Cup Discovery: April 2–6
Coffee Auctions are one of the special ways we are able to connect roasters with high-quality producers on a smaller scale than the established national and international competitions, and to bring our enthusiasm and support to communities that don’t typically see this type of live-action buying drama. We are starting the 2018 auction season with an exploratory trip to El Salvador, in the interest of developing a cupping competition and auction with a group of smallholder producers with whom we have partnered in Chalatenango. This will be our first time pursuing this type of experience in El Salvador, and we’d love to bring a large group of roasters along to build enthusiasm and provide support for the event, which has the potential of directly affecting and improving the lives and the coffees of several dozen farmers.
This will be a cupping-heavy trip, and will require cupping experience. Some travel experience is also recommended.