Big pay day for Nicaraguan coffee farmers at COE auction

Nicaraguan COE auction

The producer Zoom room was a Brady Bunch grid of smiles, says the Alliance for Coffee Excellence (ACE), as the 16th Cup of Excellence (COE) auction closed and the average price per pound soared over US$12.

At US$12.08 per pound, the average broke Nicagarua’s previous record of $10.89 per pound set in 2017. This came on a day when the commodity price for coffee dropped below US$1 per pound and during a pandemic. The opening prices for the auction were even dropped to encourage buyers to bid to ensure that coffee farmers would get paid.

The first-place winning coffee received the third highest Nicaragua COE competition price ever paid. Maruyama Coffee and Sugi Coffee Roasting in Japan, Cometeer and Goodboybob Coffee in the United States, and Harrods in the United King, paid US$36.90 per pound for 1a, half of the lot. The other half, 1b, was purchased by Takamura Coffee Roasters in Japan for US$30.30 per pound.

The ACE says several bidding battles broke out. The third ranking coffee, a washed Maracaturra produced by Luis Emilio Valladarez had 117 bids. Terarosa won this bidding war, paying US$20.20 per pound for the coffee. There was also a lot of bidding on Tania Ferrufino’s (pictured) anaerobic hybrid coffee, ranked seventh, which was ultimately purchased by Kaffebrenneriet who paid a total $16,352.28 for the lot.

“I feel very grateful to have participated in this year’s COE Nicaragua. I want to give special thanks to our team at Finca Fátima, there were a lot of talented hands involved in the processing and preparation of this lot and I feel honoured every day to work with all of you,” says Ferrufino, who, with her brother, have taken over their parents’ coffee farm over the last few years.

“Thank you Kaffebrenneriet for buying our coffee, we are sure all your clients will truly enjoy the beautiful notes of this Anaerobic H3. Finally, thank you to all the sponsors and coordinators of this year’s COE for all your hard work and dedication to the wonderful world of coffee always.”

Nicaragua COE winning producers and bidders joined a zoom room during the auction. One of those bidders was Wouter Brunia, owner of The Coffee Nose in the Netherlands, who won his first ever Cup of Excellence lot.

“I am so excited about my first ever COE winning bid in the Nicaragua auction. After my first COE Jury participation in El Salvador was cancelled earlier this year, the auctions and buyer-farmer groups on WhatsApp and zoom have enabled us to still share ideas and insights and cooperate on a joint winning bid with Upstream Coffee Imports from Australia,” says Brunia.

Along with new first-time winning bidders, the competition also saw at least six first-time participants who won the COE award, along with 11 out of 12 National Winner producers. The National Winner auction is open until 31 July.

In a virtual press conference broadcasted on Nicaraguan national television held shortly after the auction, Miguel Obando, National Co-Director for Nicaraguan Institute of Agricultural Technology said, “We are thankful for the participating buyers who believed in Nicaragua. Today is a celebration to recognize the efforts of farmers from bean to cup.”

ACE and Nicaraguan in-country partner Contradec thank the producers, buyers, and supporters for coming together this year to back coffee farmers.

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