Sometimes it seems the Cup of Excellence program has always been around. But then I realize that it seems that way because the program has been so successful. Established by the Alliance for Coffee Excellence in 1999, the Cup of Excellence program has relied on the keen palates of specialty coffee green buyers and roasters to evaluate lots of coffee from Central and South America, and East Africa, to discover coffees and producers we would never know on other terms.
The Cup of Excellence has changed the way we source and value specialty coffee, with an auction platform through which small coffee producers have earned as much as a whopping $500 per pound of green coffee in some rare circumstances. But in every circumstance, the farmers who make it to the international jury level find their lives are forever changed: they earn higher prices than they ever imagined, and their reputation is solid within the upper echelons of the worldwide specialty coffee industry. There is nothing in this industry for a producer that holds more esteem than being a first place winner in a Cup of Excellence competition.
The Alliance for Coffee Excellence (ACE) is constantly evolving and developing to suit not only the needs of the producers it supportse, but the roasters, cafe owners, baristas, green buyers, and other coffee professionals who rely on the Cup of Excellence (CoE) program to source the best coffees they will carry each year. For those reasons and more, sitting on the board of ACE is both a great honor, and a weighty responsibility.
ACE just announced the appointment of three new Board members: Bruce Mullens, VP of Coffee Culture for Coffee Bean International and Farmer Brothers; Joe Hsu, General Manager of Orsir Coffee; and Chris Jordan, COO of Verve Coffee Roasters. Each will serve a term of three years.
Bruce has been an outspoken supporter of the Cup of Excellence program for years and has served on multiple international juries. He also serves on the Board of Trustees of the Coffee Quality Institute (CQI), is a co-founder of the World Coffee Research program and acts as a lead instructor for the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA). “I’m honored to have been elected to a Board position with ACE. I’ve always been tremendously impressed with the Cup of Excellence program and the positive impact I’ve witnessed within each nation’s community of coffee growers has been remarkable.”
Joe Hsu has been importing the Cup of Excellence coffees to Taiwan, China since 2006. Joe has been a jury member for every COE country and has organized COE public cuppings in 10 cities in China. œI have witnessed Cup of Excellence coffees gaining more recognition in both Taiwan and China, and as a Board member, I would like to help do more in this rapidly growing area as there have many people looking for really high end coffee.
Christopher Jordan just moved to the USA from Africa. He was most recently in Kenya with Dormans Coffee and was responsible for developing the roasted coffee division, restructuring retail and developing Rwanda and Ethiopia. Prior to this he was the Regional Director for the TechnoServe Coffee Initiative and helped roll out programs across East Africa. Prior to TechnoServe Inc., Chris worked 14 years for Starbucks. œI am excited that I can utilize my experience to help grow the Cup of Excellence program in Africa and help many farmers there realize their quality potential.
These three will join ACE Board members Kentaro Maruyama – Japan; Jason Long – USA; Geoff Watts “ USA; Flori Marin – UK; Mark Dundon – Australia; and Aida Batlle – El Salvador.