ALLIANCE FOR COFFEE EXCELLENCE
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Who is The Alliance For Coffee Excellence (ACE)?
rewarding high quality coffee farmers. To accomplish this goal ACE manages auctions that allow
global roasters the ability to find and purchase extraordinary coffees that have been scrutinized
and scored by a series of professional cuppers.
ACE enjoys an international membership of global coffee roasters and coffee buyers who
appreciate and are eager to purchase these coffees at the auction for their discerning
customers. Created in 1999, the financial reward from these auctions has significantly improved
the livelihoods of thousands of coffee farmers worldwide.
What are the types of coffee that ACE auctions?
The Cup of Excellence (COE) coffee lots are the international winners of the Cup of Excellence®
competition. This extremely stringent competition process selects the best coffees from an
entire country and is the most rigorous and focused competition in the coffee industry. These
winners have scored highly high by both the national and the international juries. Very few
The National Winner (NW) coffees are the national jury selection. These coffees have scored
very high up to the final phase of the Cup of Excellence competition process by only the
The Private Collection Coffees (PCA) is a unique and often diverse set of coffees from a single
farm or from a group of farmers.
All of the Cup of Excellence coffees, the National Winners, and the Private Collection coffees
must meet the highest standards of quality that ACE requires. These handcrafted coffees are
unique, rare, and highly prized.
How are these Coffees Selected?
national cuppers and a vetted international jury. The entire competition is managed by the Cup
of Excellence organization (a 501c3 non-profit) in partnership with The Alliance For Coffee
Excellence. Click here to learn more about the competition.
Each Private Collection Auction (PCA) is unique in the diversity of the selection process and the
coffees presented for auction. Both national and international cuppers score and describe these
coffees. The amount of coffee in each lot to be sold is often very small
How do I receive samples of the coffees before an auction?
coffees or the National winners.
The Private Collection coffee sets are sold separately without a membership requirement.
A sample set consists of 200 grams of green beans for every lot that will be auctioned and will include all
of the coffees for that particular auction.
(For example, if the Guatemala COE auction will be composed of 28 lots; the bidder who
has purchased a sample set will receive a box containing 28 small bags. Each bag will
contain 200 grams of a specific lot.) The potential bidder must roast and analyze these coffees to define
their desired lots to bid on the
For more information about ACE membership and costs for sample sets click here
How are the coffees going to the COE auction selected?
All received coffees from farmers of the country who have enrolled are coded by the auditing firm. Once coded, all coffees are blindly cupped by a panel of cuppers who
have passed a test applied by ACE, guaranteeing proper skills to cup. The best 150 coffees obtaining 86+ points advance to the next stage.
National Jury Round 1
The auditing firm codes once again with a different code the coffees. They are blindly cupped by the panel and the top 90 coffees obtaining 86+ points advance to the next
National Jury round 2
The auditing firm codes once again with a different code the coffees. They are blindly cupped by the panel and the top 40 coffees obtaining 86+ points advance to the
International Jury Round 1
Coffees are recoded once again. A different panel than the previous national cuppers, this one made up of approximately 20 international (+1 or 2 local cuppers) travel to
origin countries and evaluate the coffees selected by the National Jury. Those with scores greater than 86 points go international jury round 2.
International Jury Round 2
Coffees are recoded again. The top 30 coffees obtaining 87+ points advance to the Cup of Excellence auction. Any coffees that obtained between 85 and 86.99 or are not in
the top 30 coffees scoring 87+ may participate in the National Winners auction.
The top 10 coffees from the prior round are recoded. These top 10 are cupped once again to define the final position they will be auctioned with.
How can I buy COE coffee?
purchase sample sets of their choice. Approximately 40 days after the results announcements an
online auction will happen.
This auction is open to ACE members only. You will log in with your ACE membership credentials.
Will generally open on a set date at 9:00am New York time. The buyers will place bids on their lots of interest
through the online bidding platform. Once all lots have bids a 3 minute timer will begin. Every time any lot
gets a bid, the 3 minute timer will reset. When 3 minutes have passed and no bids have been place in any lot,
the auction will conclude. (Auction time could be between 4-7 hours, sometimes more sometimes less)
NATIONAL WINNERS AUCTION
Will generally open on a set date at 9:00am New York time. The buyers will have 1 week to place bids on their
desired lots. The auction will close at an established date and time. NOTE: in the National Winners auction if a
lot received a bid within the last 10 minutes, 15 minutes will be added to only that specific lot auction closure
I want to try the COE coffee before participating in the auctions. How can I do this?
A sample set consists of 200 grams of green beans for every lot that will be auctioned.
For example, if the Guatemala COE auction will be composed of 28 lots; the bidder who
has purchased a sample set will receive a box containing 28 small bags. Each bag will
contain 200 grams of a specific lot.
The bidder must roast and cup these coffees to define their desired lots to bid on the
COMMUNITY MEMBERSHIP: This does not include any sample sets, every sample set
must be purchased separately. COE and National Winner sample sets are sold
ALLIED MEMBERSHIP: Includes sample sets (COE+NW) of the 3 countries chosen by
member at the time of enrollment.
BENEFACTOR MEMBERSHIP: Includes all samples of auctions (COE+NW)
I can not buy a full lot, I just need some boxes. What can I do? (buying groups)
In occasions a group of interested buyers will join to purchase 1 whole lot. ACE sets
up a WhatsApp group for bidders to join prior an auction. Bidders may express their
desired lots of interest, and when a matching buyer(s) comes up, the buying parties
may privately talk to define details such as maximum price, amount to be taken by
each buying party, who will be the lead bidder etc.
The communication of the interested buyers among each other is not ACE’s or COE’s responsibility.
The group must choose 1 lead bidder who will place bids on behalf of the rest of the group at the
previously discussed prices. The lead bidder is responsible for any defaults should a buying party
member withdraw or does not pay for the coffee. The lead bidder must also share the bidding
agreement that will be provided by ACE prior to the auction with his group members
Buying parties can be conformed of members of different countries. They do NOT have to be in the
same country. Our exporter is able to split lots (only full boxes) and ship to different destinations
around the world. There is a cost for splitting lot who is regularly assumed by the additional buyer.
How will I pay for and receive my coffee?
the COE lots to winning bidders around the world.
This exporter will handle the shipping instructions provided by the winning
bidder, or quote shipping options for the winning bidders. Once the
shipping details have been defined, the winning bidder will wire transfer
the payment to the exporters bank account which has previously been
verified the amount due for the coffee plus shipping costs.
The exporter will now proceed to ship the coffee to the winning bidder and provide the proper shipment tracking details and documents. Shipping terms vary from country to country. A bidding agreement will state the shipping terms and other important details to the buyers prior to bidding. All registered buyers will receive a bidding agreement and must agree to terms prior to bidding.
The winning bidder is responsible for:
Properly providing the shipping details to the exporter
Providing instructions regarding documentation needed to receive the coffee
Any customs duties/processes/costs at the destination country of the coffee.
I want to assist a COE International Jury week (Observers & Jurors)
a panel of International Cuppers from companies around the world. In order to join a COE
International Jury you must follow the next steps:
Your company must be an ACE member
You must have applied and been selected as an observer. Once selected you must have
participated in an International Jury.
After one or more observer participation where the copper has proven they are proficient cuppers, observers will now be enabled to apply for future competitions as a juror.
APPLICATIONS FOR BOTH OBSERVERS AND JURORS MAY BE FOUND ON THE ACE WEBSITE
What is an observer?
An observer’s participation during an international week consists of the full COE experience, meaning they will
participate in all cuppings and activities along with the jury, but the observer’s scores will not be taken into
account to determine the scores of the coffee. Also note the observer must cover their accommodation and
food expenses (whereas a COE Juror has these expenses covered by the host country). Both observers and jurors
are responsible for their travel arrangements/visas/permits and expenses to arrive in the destination country.
The host country will assist with accommodation and food arrangements for observers but do NOT cover the
After having attended as an observer to a COE competition, depending on the skills and experience you will be
enabled to apply as a COE scoring judge for future competitions.
COE Scoring Jurors only pay for the airfare to and from the country along with any visa/travel arrangements.
Food, transport, and accommodation will be covered by host country.
What Training does ACE offer?
training and educational programs that give serious global coffee professionals the tools
needed to succeed in understanding and valuing high-quality coffees.
Who manages ACE
of ACE. It overseen by a global Board of Directors made up of 15 members from a wide variety