Cup of Excellence Launches Fundraiser for Mexican Farmers Victimized in Theft

Eight winning lots of the competition were taken before they could be offered at auction.

BY CHRIS RYAN
BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE

Photos courtesy of Alliance for Coffee Excellence 

This month’s Cup of Excellence Mexico—the first COE in the country since 2015, which took place July 6—should have been an entirely happy occasion, with 22 high-quality lots fetching record-setting prices.

However, participants in the competition received some devastating news when a theft occurred on May 22, with several of the winning lots stolen. Alliance for Coffee Excellence (ACE), which runs the Cup of Excellence competition, issued this statement about the incident: “It is with a heavy heart we announce that while transporting lots from the Oaxaca warehouse to the warehouse in Veracruz, the driver was ambushed on the road and forced from the truck. The truck and the container of eight winning coffee lots were stolen. He was not hurt and walked to the nearest town to call police.”

(From left) Abraham Patricio, Margarita Maura Perez Lopez, and Ernesto Ponciano—all of Oaxaca—were among the farmers whose lots were taken.

Stolen from the truck were lots #5, #9, #11, #19, #20 and #26, #32 and #33 of the national winners. Though the stolen lots could not be sold via auction, they are listed on the ACE website to bring visibility to the farmers who produced them.

Additionally, ACE has launched a fundraising campaign on its website collecting money for the farmers whose coffee was taken. The ACE statement on the page says that while insurance may cover a portion of the coffees’ value, the farmers will suffer financial losses from the theft. The statement goes on to say: “By donating to these farmers you will be helping to offset some of their loss and will send a strong message that you care.”

(From left) Felix Faustino Garcia Lopez, Jose Luis, and Pedro Moises Lopez García had their COE coffees taken. COE is currently holding a fundraiser to compensate the farmers.

ACE also encourages buyers who may be interested in other coffees from the farmers whose lots were taken to inquire about their available lots. They can do so by contacting Amanda Santos at amanda.santos@amecafe.org.mx.

The stolen lots marred what would have been a triumphant return to Mexico for COE. The top lot—from Veracruz farmer Rodolfo Jiménez López— was split into two separate lots for the auction and sold for a record high of $100.49 and $55.40 per pound. These lots were shared between the following companies: Maruyama, Campos Coffee, Sarutahiko Coffee and Kyokuto Fadie Coffee.

Visit ACE’s website for more on the COE auctions, and go here to donate to the farmers affected by the recent theft.

About Chris Ryan 235 Articles
Chris Ryan (he/him) is Barista Magazine's online copy editor and a freelance writer and editor with a background in the specialty coffee industry. He has been content director of Sustainable Harvest and the editor of Fresh Cup Magazine.