International judging of Cup of Excellence (COE) Ethiopia 2020 has been relocated to Portland, United States, due to travel restrictions and lockdowns during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The competition was scheduled to be held in Addis Ababa from 30 March 30 to 3 April and 7 to 10 April, in the presence of an international jury. The coffee lots of the top 150 pre-selection winners have been collected and stored in the Addis Ababa Cup of Excellence Center.
The announcement came following a decision by the Cup of Excellence Steering Committee to hold the competition and the auction as scheduled, without compromising the safety and health of the national and international jury and support staff.
As a result, the Alliance for Coffee Excellence (ACE), an organisation that owns COE, will receive samples of all coffee lots and facilitate judging in its Portland facility.
The Cup of Excellence organisers in Addis Ababa – the Ethiopian Coffee and Tea Authority and Feed the Future Ethiopia Value Chain Activity – are now preparing samples from each lot received, which were sent to the US on 27 March.
Dr. Adugna Debela, Director General of the Ethiopian Coffee and Tea Authority says the decision to change locations for the Ethiopian COE was difficult, but in the best interest of producers and participants.
“COE Ethiopia organisers and ACE will work in tandem to hold the vetting process with high quality and transparency. We will do everything we can to attract as many bidders so that farmers get the highest price possible for their quality coffee” he says.
Ian Chesterman, Feed the Future Ethiopia Value Chain Activity Chief of Party says the organisers are committed to making sure the top winners are announced on time.
“We will keep our promises to farmers, and we are navigating the way forward in this difficult time,” he says.
ACE Managing Director Darrin Daniel also says the alliance will follow strict protocols to evaluate the samples.
“ACE will receive all the lots in our lab in Portland, and we will bring a small, but experienced jury to analyse the samples,” he says.
These coded lots will be examined and graded from 4 to 9 April. The auction will take place in June, instead of 28 May 28, for an estimated 100 buyers from coffee companies in 14 countries.