The Cup of Excellence is a prestigious coffee competition and award program that recognizes and rewards the highest-quality coffees produced by farmers in various coffee-growing regions around the world. The program was started in 1999 by the Alliance for Coffee Excellence (ACE), a non-profit organization based in Portland, Oregon, USA.
To participate in the Cup of Excellence, coffee farmers must submit their best coffee beans to a rigorous competition and selection process, which includes multiple rounds of blind tastings by expert judges. The judges evaluate the coffees based on various criteria, including flavor, aroma, acidity, balance, and aftertaste. The top-scoring coffees are then auctioned off to buyers, who pay premium prices for the privilege of purchasing these exceptional coffees.
Winning the Cup of Excellence is a major achievement for coffee farmers, as it can significantly increase their incomes and raise their profiles within the coffee industry. The program also helps to promote sustainable and ethical coffee production practices, as farmers are encouraged to adopt environmentally-friendly and socially responsible methods in order to produce the highest-quality beans.
Since its inception, the Cup of Excellence has become one of the most respected and influential coffee competitions in the world, and has helped to promote and elevate the reputation of specialty coffee and the farmers who produce it.