Cup of Excellence

Cup of Excellence

In the coffee world, the Cup of Excellence is the highest honor a coffee can receive. Here you can learn more about this extraordinary competition.


The highest coffee award in the world
In the coffee world, the Cup of Excellence is the highest award a coffee can receive. It is held annually in coffee-growing countries in Africa, South and Central America and organized by the Alliance For Coffee Excellence (ACE). The Cup of Excellence jury awards prizes to the best coffees in a country, which are then allowed to carry a seal until the next COE. By this seal one recognizes the best beans of the season.
But until a coffee is allowed to carry this seal, it must convince many people of its uniqueness.


The participants
The number of coffees submitted annually per coffee country is approximately between 300 and 900, depending on the size of the country. Brazil has accordingly more submissions than a small country like Rwanda. To make a pre-selection, patience and a keen sense of taste are needed, because only the best beans should make it to the second round in the end. For the pre-selection of the coffees, a national jury is appointed to determine the best of the submitted coffee samples. It consists of staff from the national coffee organizations, exporters and Q graders.
The coffees submitted will be cupped by the jury over five cups. In other words, five infusions of each coffee will be placed side by side, and each will be tested.

The procedure
The submitted coffees are cupped by the jury over five cups. This means that five infusions of each coffee are placed side by side and each of them is tested.

The national jury focuses on finding flavor uniqueness during the pre-selection process and evaluates a coffee's aromas, flavors, sweetnesses and acids, body and balance between the individual components. In the end, about 60 coffees remain to meet an international jury made up of the most influential coffee roasters, coffee buyers and coffee sellers in the world. Responsible for the position of the jury is the ACE, i.e. the 'Alliance for Coffee Excellence'.

In this second jury round, all coffees are tasted blind. The jury has no information about the coffee samples, only the taste counts. During the cuppings, the coffees are evaluated by the jury and the points awarded are compiled and checked by independent examiners.
Coffees that reach over 86 points move on to the next round.
For orientation: the highest score is 100, but even we have never given 100 points to any coffee. All coffees that have reached over 86 points are then tasted again and evaluated. Mostly, these are between 20 and 30 coffees.


These coffees can then be bid on by members of the ACE 'Alliance for Coffee Excellence' in a worldwide online auction. 19grams has been a member of ACE for many years. We participate in the international juries each year and purchase winning coffees through the international auction.