ACE to reduce 2016 Cup of Excellence competitions

The Alliance for Coffee Excellence (ACE) has announced it is suspending some of its 2016 Cup of Excellence (COE) competitions. In a statement released on 17 July, Chair of ACE Board of Directors Geoff Watts says the organisation has decided to “temporarily scale back” COE competitions in every country except Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Honduras for the 2016 cycle. Geoff says the decision was a difficult one for the board to make, but a necessary one in order to “fine-tune and upgrade” the COE process. As part of a long-term strategic plan, ACE wants to develop a new auction platform, update its existing competition standards and protocols, create and implement an electronic cupping form, and improve post-auction logistical issues with respect to deliveries of purchased lots. “Given our staff size, however, it is very difficult to institute these changes while still maintaining a full COE schedule next year,” Geoff says in a statement. “As a result, the ACE Board of Directors has determined that it is necessary to scale back the COE competition schedule for 2016. This is a temporary move, one that we expect will result in even bigger and better competitions in 2017 and future years.” ACE says it hopes to have the new auction platform and competition standards in place for the 2016 competition season. “We understand that this decision will impact farmers in countries without a COE program next year, and will also mean that in 2016, there will be fewer COE coffees for our members to buy,” the press statement says. “Ultimately, however, the board determined that this step was necessary to ensure that program changes can be successfully implemented and consistently replicated across all country programs.” The first COE competition and auction program started in Brazil 1999. In the past year 10 countries have been involved in the COE. ACE’s Geoff says in the statement that although ACE are implementing new changes, the organisation’s philosophy will remain the same: to increase auction prices paid to farmers and ensure that COE coffees continue to represent the pinnacle of excellence. “We believe [the changes] will result in more opportunities for coffee growers, more incredible coffees, and far better customer service for buyers,” he says. “All of the planned improvements are designed with the express purpose of making sure the COE that we all care so much about can continue to be the most impactful coffee quality program in the industry.” For more information visit

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