Salvadoran coffee farmers are currently participating in the Cup of Excellence program, in which judges search for fine gourmet coffees in various Latin American countries. In the first stage of the competition, a group of Salvadoran tasting judges or "cuppers" qualify a group of high quality coffees eligible to proceed to the second round where international judges come to El Salvador to select those coffees which will be awarded the "Cup of Excellence." The first stage was completed last week, and 49 coffee fincas qualified for the second round. Coffees which receive the prize can command a significant price premium in international auctions and raise the interest level of international buyers in that farm and the surrounding region. This is the fourth year that El Salvador has participated in the program.
From the Cup of Excellence web site:
How important is this award to a coffee farmer?
Winning farmers are exhilarated to be acknowledged for their dedication to quality. Not only is the farmer given a prestigious award during a national ceremony but 85% of the record prices at auction go back to the producers who deserve and need it. In addition the farmer is now recognized in the industry as being a quality producer. A winning farm and often the whole region can expect to receive future visits from roasters looking to buy more quality coffee for their companies. The positive impact on the quality of life for a winning farmer and his family is permanent as the auction money will often be spent on farm improvements or family education which can change their economic livelihood for the long term even if they do not win every year.
Who started the Cup of Excellence ® competition?
Cup of Excellence was started by a group of dedicated coffee connoisseurs who along with international governmental support and NGOs thought that a competition and auction was an effective way to recognize farmers monetarily for their hard work and effort. It is now known that in addition to this the discovery of unknown and yet phenomenal coffees creates an excitement among roasters and consumers that is unparalleled. As multiple coffee producing countries have joined the program they are sharing beneficial information with each other and the supporting roasters have created a kind of Cup of Excellence family