El Salvador Cup of Excellence 2020 celebrates processing innovation

Roberto Samuel Ulloa Vilanova of Divina Providencia has won the 2020 El Salvador Cup of Excellence (COE), with a natural anaerobic Pacamara. This marks the first time that processing style has topped the El Salvador competition in its 17-year history, scoring 90.31 out of 100.

“When there is a personal achievement reached, you must be humble enough and recognise that those goals require a team effort as well as receiving key support from different parts,” says Roberto, who with his son, represent fifth and sixth generation coffee growers.

Norelvia Angelica Elias de Diaz of La Bonita in Chalatenango placed second with a washed Pacamara scoring 89.91. Ever Leonel Diaz Perez of Mileydi in Chalatenango placed third with a washed Pacamara scoring 89.53.

The Alliance for Coffee Excellence (ACE) announced 22 COE winning coffees and 11 National Winner coffees from this year’s competition. These winning coffees represent a total of five processes and eight varieties.

Along with work in innovation, the ACE says Salvadorian coffee producers and country organisers have come together as an industry more than ever this year to support each other during the pandemic.

The International stage of the competition was held at ACE Global Coffee Centers (GCCs) in Norway, the United States, Korea, Australia, and Japan.

“El Salvador is truly a unique origin with an exciting array of varieties, techniques, and profiles. It may be the smallest Central American country but it’s depth and complexity defy its size,” says Lloyd Thom, International Judge and Green Coffee Buyer at Campos Coffee in Australia.

“Cup of Excellence here showcases an origin of both time-honoured tradition and, at the same time, an unbounded capacity for innovation, especially with new varieties. There are nuanced flavours and experiences you get here that you just can’t get anywhere else.”

This year’s results, however, were bittersweet. Days after the awards ceremony, 15-time winning COE producer Gilberto Baraona passed away. He had just won two awards in this year’s competition. The ACE says Gilberto’s support and contribution as a craft coffee producer has changed the way the global coffee community see specialty coffee in El Salvador, which was present more than ever this year through the offering of exemplary coffees.

Coffee producers now wait for their creativity and efforts to pay off in the COE auction on 30 July and National Winner auction from 27 July to 14 August.

Opening prices for both the auctions have been lowered to encourage participation from bidders. For more information, visit


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