Honduras COE auction makes history with record-breaking bid

The 2016 Cup of Excellence (COE) Honduras auction has broken the record for the highest price ever recorded.

On June 16, winning COE farmer Marysabel Garcia Caballero from El Puente farm in Chinacla, La Paz, received the record-setting bid of US$120.50 (approximately AUD$160) per pound for her Geisha coffee. 

The auction opened at 7am with 75 companies bidding for the top Honduran coffees. It took less than an hour for bidders to break the through the $100 per pound price tag, smashing the previous COE record which was not even above US$99, and breaking into triple digits.

Kasai Coffee was the highest bidder for the El Puente coffee, which was awarded a score of 91.70 just weeks ago at a ceremony in Tegucigalpa. The total value of Kasai Coffee’s bid is US$47,718 (approximately AUD$63,942). Maruyama Coffee and Tea Coffee were the second highest bidders of the auction, also winning El Puente coffee for US$120.10 per pound, totalling US$47,559.60.

Farmer Marysabel was overwhelmed at the results.

“[I’m] excited and thankful to God that [he] has placed Honduras as the country with the highest COE auction bid in the world,” Marysabel told the Alliance for Coffee Excellence (ACE). “I’m thankful to all our buyers for trusting us since day one. This has been an effort of many people, our farm workers, my husband, and family, COE organisers, IHCAFE (El Instituto Hondureño del Café). Thank you all.”

The second place COE-winning coffee from El Nacimiento farm in Santa Barbara with a score of 90.84 received a high bid of US$30.30 per pound from Australian roaster Campos Coffee.

“I feel pleased and very excited with God and the people that have worked hard on this project of COE, [I’m] very motivated to continue working,” farmer Job Neel Cacerez Diaz said to ACE.

The third place COE coffee from Los Cedros farm in Morazan, Yoro with a score of 90.43 received a high bid of US$39 per pound from Camel Step Roasters.

The average price for all of the 23 lots was US$16.85 per pound.

Farmer Miroslav Cuculiza from Mira Valle was equally surprised at the auction results. His sixth-placed winning coffee was bought from Hiro Coffee Co, and sold for US$22 per pound.

“I came for $10 [per pound] and I am taking $22 [per pound] home,” he said.

COE Founder and ACE Executive Director Susie Spinder said the June auction was a history-making day for the COE program.

“Record prices for the Honduras COE has thrilled not only the farmers but the entire country. Farmers now know that creating spectacular coffees is appreciated and they will work even harder to handcraft the coffees you love,” she said.

All of the winning farmers, their friends, and families gathered to watch the auction results. Susie says the gathering turned into a “noisy celebration”. “Horns were blowing every time a new bid was logged in, music was playing. It was quite the event,” she said.

The Honduras auction was the thirteenth program to be held in Honduras since 2004. The event has been an integral part of Honduras becoming a very valuable origin for specialty coffee buyers.

“The growth in high quality coffee from Honduras has been nothing short of astounding,” Susie said. “It is not surprising that Honduras is considered the powerhouse producer of Central America.”

ACE Country Representative Will Young of Campos Coffee says the high auction prices are a direct result of COE’s recent rule changes. Splitting the presidential award winners (for coffees scoring above 90) is a new initiative this year.

“This year the minimum score for coffees to receive the COE is 86 compared to previous years of 85,” Will said. “Standards to make it through to the auction are higher, and the coffees scoring between 84 and 86 – still great micro-lot specialty coffees – are being auctioned via our new National Winners Platform, which is also seeing great results.”

Currently, the COE program takes place in 11 specialty coffee producing countries in East Africa and in Central and South America.

COE is the most prestigious competition and award for high quality coffees. Each year, thousands of coffees are submitted for consideration, with winning coffees sold in global online auctions at premium prices, with the vast majority of auction proceeds going to the farmers. COE is a not-for-profit initiative.

The Costa Rica COE auction opens 21 June, with five presidential coffees up for auction. Guatemala’s COE auction will be held on 30 June.

To register for samples and auctions visit www.allianceforcoffeeexcellence.org/en/

To see the full Honduras results click here.

Image credit: Campos Coffee. COE winner Marysabel Garcia Caballero from El Puente.

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