Project Origin Best of El Salvador auction crowns inaugural winners

Project Origin has celebrated the best of El Salvador coffee in its inaugural event, which took place from 2 – 8 May.

With a score of 88.75, Ever Leonel Díaz Pérez from the Milaydi farm in the Chalatenango region took top honours in the Washed Category.

The top bidder for this coffee at US$10.30 per pound was Sydney Coffee Company, who outbid 19 other contenders for the washed-processed Pacamara varietal, paying a total value of US$12,535.10.

The Honey/Natural Category winner, with a score of 88.25, was Raúl Rivera from the Santa Rosa farm in the Chalatenango region. Project Origin secured this honey processed Pacamara coffee, paying US$9.10 per pound. This equates to a total value of US$10,155.60.

Other roasters to show their support for El Salvador coffee included Dramanti Artisan Roaster, Knockbox Coffee Company, Hong Coffee, Beijing HMC, Lighthouse Coffee Snd, and many more.

“An absolute highlight of the event was announcing the winners Jorge, and Ever,” said Project Origin’s Habib Maarbani. “Raul has been a previous Cup Of Excellence (COE) winner and reminded us why we love honey and natural Pacamaras from El Salvador. Ever was a stranger to the spotlight and his story really proved why events such as these can help change the specialty coffee industry.”

The Milaydi farm is only one manzana (about 2 acres). As such, Ever can only produce six to fifteen 60-kilogram bags of coffee per year. Habib says Ever has had trouble entering other competitions given the minimum lot size requirements.

“In the past he has sold his coffee for about US$2 per pound to other producers, and his coffee would get combined with other lots then get entered into competitions, often winning and being sold for quite high prices,” Habib said. “This year he submitted six bags into the Project Origin: Best of El Salvador Auction and won. He earned himself an auction price of US$9.10 per pound and direct credit for the quality of that coffee – two things he has never had before.”

World Barista Champion (WBC) Sasa Sestic created the new auction program to help develop coffee growing communities and advance quality coffee globally.

“My objective is to continue supporting the specialty coffee industry by connecting coffee communities all over the world,” Sasa said. “I truly think this auction is the most humble way to connect coffee buyers with consumers, and also to educate both farmers and roasters on how we can improve the specialty coffee industry.”

The Best of El Salvador supported coffee producers who have previously placed in the top 15 of COE in El Salvador, including Gilberto Baraona, Jorge Raul Rivera and Mauricio Salaverria. In 2015, the Alliance for Coffee Excellence decided to “temporarily scale back” COE competitions, which included the El Salvador COE.

To conduct the Best of El Salvador auction, a national jury first put coffee entries through a pre-selection process and shortlisted coffees scoring above 85 points. The international jury then cupped 36 lots and selected the top eight coffees in the Washed Category and Honey/Natural Category.

“Those 16 coffees became our finalists and our auction lots and they were incredibly tasty coffees,” Habib said.

On the last day of the auction, coffees that scored 86+ points were auctioned off. The auction included an online bidding system for those who could not physically attend.

To see the full results visit:

The next Best of Project Origin auction will take place in Santa Barbara, Honduras from 4 July – 10 July.

To join the judging panel or obtain samples of the coffees that make the International Judging round please email

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