ArtOn Café is happy to be sharing the news from the Cup of Excellence competitions in 2021 and this time we will write about four countries: Ethiopia, Colombia, Nicaragua, México and Guatemala

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Ethiopia 2021

In this year’s Cup of Excellence competition in Ethiopia, among the five lots scoring 90+ points this year an anaerobic-processed coffee grown by Tamiru Tadesse Tesema from the Sidama region, Bensa zone, took the first place with a score of 90.60. It means it also won the COE’s “Presidential Award”.

The second-ever Ethiopia Cup of Excellence green coffee competition resulted in 39 lots scoring 87+ points, with five of those coffees exceeding the 90-point mark. Organizers said that the winning coffee came from a record-breaking number of entries (1,849) for any countrywide Cup of Excellence competition, coming from different growing areas, processing methods and farm types. Due to COVID-19-related restrictions, the final international judging round of the competition took place at various COE-sanctioned centers throughout the globe.

These 30 winning coffees are all heading to auctions, beginning with an auction of “National Winners” (scoring between 86.41-87.32), and the auctions will be taking place June 28 through July 9, while the online auction will be held Wednesday, July 7. (Alliance for Coffee Excellence, 2021a)

This year’s winner, Tamiru Tadesse Tesema said that “the coffee they grow in their area is of high quality”. He addes: “I wanted to promote it and that is why I took part in the competition. I am very happy for having the opportunity and very honored to have won the Presidential Award. It is the greatest acknowledgment for our hard work.”

Ethiopia Cup of Excellence 2021 winner, Tamiru Tadesse Tesema

“A diversity of fine flavors came through from the processes — natural to honey to anaerobic — bright, floral, apricot, and red wine and muscat,” the COE international judge Shinji Sekine of Japan’s Wataru & Co said after the competition. “We are very satisfied with the result of cupping these lots as CoE winners and hope bidders will also be satisfied with the quality.” There is a long list of winners, and if you wish to see them all, here is the page to their official website with all the winning slots.

The geographic distribution of specialty coffee areas in Ethiopia

Ethiopia is suitable for coffee under current climatic conditions, with the highest area (63%, which is 188,652 km2) outside the five specialty coffee zones. Of the 27% that is suitable for coffee in Ethiopia, only about 30% (91,122 km2) is suitable for specialty coffee production. Nekemte coffee has the largest suitable area (32,648 km2, 11.8%) in the western parts of the country, followed by Sidamo coffee with 9.6% of the suitable area for coffee (26,478 km2) in the southern parts of the Ethiopian highlands. The smallest range is for Yirgacheffe coffee which is only suitable in 1.2% of the suitable area for coffee in the combined model. The most significant overlaps were for Sidamo and Yirgacheffe coffee where 65% (2411 km2) of the Yirgacheffe was modelled as suitable for Sidamo coffee while 16% (5,170 km2) of the Sidamo coffee area was modelled as suitable for also producing Yirgacheffe coffee.

Specialty coffee in Ethiopia

Ethiopian coffee offers some of the most unusual coffee tastes you can find. They vary so much that you would probably be amazed at how they all come from the same country. In this article we present some of them to you, so keep on reading!

  • Lekempti – Lekempti, also known as Nekempti, is a region located in the state of Wellega, a state that is in the highland area in the Southwestern part of Ethiopia. In Wellega live the Oromos, the largest tribe in Ethiopia. Lekempti’s coffee taste is known for its fruity and caramel aroma, with notes of vanilla. It has a delicate and mild acidity that combines perfectly with its exotic and clean aftertaste.
  • Limu – Limu is a high-quality, wet-processed (washed) Ethiopian coffee that exhibits a relatively low acidity yet is somewhat sharp. The brewed cup is distinguished by its well-balanced body (mouthfeel) and noticeable winey and spicy flavours, often fruit-toned, pleasantly sweet and vibrant with floral overtones. Limu coffee is grown in southwest/southcentral Ethiopia, producing medium-sized coffee beans with a distinctive roundish shape and green colour.
  • Haraar – Harrars are wild coffees, which means they go through a dry process where the coffee fruit dries on the bean, imparting the flavours of compote fruit and dark rich chocolate.
  • Yirgacheffe – Ethiopian Yergacheffes are amazing and unique coffees. Yergacheffe is a town in the Sidamo region of Ethiopia, and the coffees from this region will surprise you with their floral and tangerine notes.

  • Sidamo – Sidamo is one of the most prolific growing regions in Ethiopia, producing large volumes of consistently great coffee each year. A good Sidamo is well-balanced with cupping notes exhibiting berries and citrus (lemony) with complex acidity. Sidamo green coffees are grown in the Province of Sidamo.

  • Djimmah – An excellent, low-acid Ethiopian coffeewhen it is wet-processed (washed). When Djimmah is dry processed (natural; unwashed), however, it is known to impart a generally undesirable medicinal  Djimmah is also called Jimma Coffee.
  • Illubabor – Illubabor coffee beans are often used in blends with Djimma Coffee and other coffees. A good Illubabor is as full-bodied as any Ethiopian coffee and provides a well-balanced brewed cup with moderate acidity.
  • Bebeka – Along with Teppi coffee beans, Bebeka coffee beans are typically used for blendingand are known to offer a well-balanced cup of brewed coffee (Espresso Coffee Guide, 2021).

Colombia 2021

COE Auction: June 3rd

There were 23 winning coffees, and only the first two scored over 90 points.

First place went to Pablo Andrés Guerrero Pérez, of the farm El Obraje, with a score of 90.61.

Colombia Cup of Excellence 2021 winner, Pablo Andrés Guerrero Pérez

This is the second time that Pablo has participated in the Cup of Excellence contest. Last year he came 8th with a natural-processed Gesha lot. El Obraje coffee farm has become a vertical model of farm and coffee shop. Obraje Café Especial aims to offer high quality coffees to the national and international market (Alliance for Coffee Excellence, 2021b).

“This year I was stricter with both the selection of the cherries and control of the fermentation time to get the profile I desired,” Guerrero said, which took him to the winning place in the competition (Daily Coffee News, 2021a). To see the full list of winners, click here.

Nicaragua 2021

COE Auction: June 29th
NW Auction: June 28th – July 9th

There were 23 winning producers of coffee this year, with four of them scoring over 90 points. The winning coffees represent 12 different varieties or cultivars that went through the different processes of production: washed, natural, honey or anaerobic.

In addition to the main CoE winners, there were also 12 National Winners, each scoring between 85 and 87 points (Alliance for Coffee Excellence, 2021c).

First place went to Jesus Mountain Coffee: its coffee from the farm Jesus Mountain Coffee Company in Nueva Segovia won with a staggering 90.96 points. The farm produces coffee at various heights, from 900 to 1,450 metres above sea level. Its coffee is all grown under shade and its streams are protected, while its shade trees and riparian areas offer important habitats and biological corridors to the wide range of animal species that live there. They estimate that their next harvest (2021-2022) will consist of approximately 3,123 gold quintals. If you wish to see more information about other Nicaragua winners, click here.

COE-winning producers Judith Marileth of Jesus Mountain, Samuel Savala of Cambalache and Norma de Guillén of Los Pirineos

México 2021

COE Auction: July 15th
NW Auction: July 12th – 23rd

The first 4 farmers managed to have a score of over 90 points. The 2021 Mexican CoE competition had 30 CoE winners, gave out four Presidential Awards and eight National Winners recognitions.

First place went to Cruz Jose Arguello Enriquez, and the coffee came from his farm Finca Santa Cruz. His coffee had an amazing success with a score of 91.58. After winning, Cruz said: “We are very excited and happy to have achieved these results. In 2019 our main objective as Finca Santa Cruz was to demonstrate the quality that the farm could offer”.

The propositions of this competition are that these coffees have each been cupped a minimum of five different times during the cupping process. The top 30 coffees that scored over 87 at the Cup of Excellence Global Coffee Centres are the winning ones, and the coffee is packaged in 30kg boxes in two separate 15kg vacuum-packed bags. Those lots that receive the title of National Winner are coffees that are awarded 85+ points during the International Phase by the Cup of Excellence National Jury and International Jury, and those coffees are cupped a minimum of five different times.  The coffee is packaged in 69kg hermetic bags(Alliance for Coffee Excellence, 2021d).

If you would like to try the winners’ coffee, you still have the chance to buy the samples. Sample registration closes on Thursday, June 24th. Each set contains 200 grams of green coffee from each of the winning lots.

COE Winners
• 4 Presidential Winners
• 30 COE Winners
• 11 first time winners in COE

Auction Dates
COE Auction: July 15th
NW Auction: July 12th – 23rd

Here are the auction times around the world for the Thursday, July 15th Cup of Excellence auction:
  • 6:00 am PDT Los Angeles, USA
  • 9:00 am EDT New York, USA
  • 2:00 pm BST London, United Kingdom
  • 3:00 pm CEST Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • 4:00 pm MSK Moscow, Russia
  • 5:00 pm GST Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  • 9:00 pm HKT Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  • 10:00 pm JST Tokyo, Japan
  • 11:00 pm AEST Sydney, Australia

National Winners
• 8 National Winners
• 6 first time winners in NW

Opening Prices
$6.50/lb 90+ COE
$6.00/lb 88 – 88.99 COE
$5.00/lb 87 – 87.99 COE
$4.00/lb 85+ NW

Guatemala 2021

Auction Dates
COE Auction: July 27th
NW Auction: July 26th – August 6th

This year there were 28 winners, and four of them scored over 90 points, and all of COE-winning coffees scored at least 87 points. The winning coffee from El Injerto I’s La Libertad farm, a washed Gesha variety, scored 90.51 points (Alliance for Coffee Excellence, 2021e).

“We are so happy and proud of the award we have received,” Gabriela Aguirre, a representative of Finca El Injerto I, which won the competition’s top prize, said in a Cup of Excellence announcement. “This is an award for all coffee producers in Guatemala and of course an award for our entire team and their hard work, from those who plant, pick and process to those who serve the coffee in the coffee shops.”

In addition to the COE winners auction, 11 coffees that scored between 86 and 86.99 will be present at the “National Winners” auction from July 26 to Aug. 6 (Daily Coffee News, 2021c). If you would like to see all the results or buy the samples, here is the link that will take you directly to the page.

International Women’s Coffee Alliance partners with Cup of Excellence

The International Women’s Coffee Alliance (IWCA) has signed a memorandum of understanding with the specialty coffee organisation –  the  Alliance for Coffee Excellence (ACE) –  and the Premier Coffee Competition – the Cup of Excellence (CoE). Its main goal will be to empower women in the coffee industry by creating new opportunities for professional development which will then aid women in their financial situation. Furthermore, they wish to make healthier coffee communities through building sustainable incomes for women.

“I am very excited about this partnership between IWCA and ACE/COE which will provide opportunities for our women producers through both training and market access, leading to higher income generation while also providing unique coffees for the consumers,” said Dr. Sarada Krishnan, Executive Director of IWCA. IWCA is an organization dedicated to women empowerment in the international coffee industry that functions through 27 independently run IWCA chapters spread across the globe.

These are some of the future goals and activities that these organisations will focus on together:

  • promote these producers and increase their auction premiums
  • plan marketing, educational, and promotional activities that are designed to increase awareness about ACE, IWCA, and its chapter members
  • share information and work together on mutually beneficial projects, fostering growth and development
  • identify projects with the ability to empower women
  • seek funding from individuals, corporations, international development organisations (Global Coffee Report, 2021).


Alliance for Coffee Excellence (2021a). Ethiopia 2021. Retrieved June 15, 2021

Alliance for Coffee Excellence (2021b). Colombia 2021. Retrieved June 15, 2021

Daily Coffee News (2021a). 2021 Colombia Cup of Excellence Winners Feature Two 90+ Lots. Retrieved June 15, 2021 from

Espresso Coffee Guide (2021). Ethiopian Coffee. Retrieved June 24, 2021 from

Alliance for Coffee Excellence (2021c). Nicaragua 2021. Retrieved June 15, 2021

Daily Coffee News (2021b). Four Lots Score 90+ Heading Into 2021 Nicaragua Cup of Excellence Auction. Retrieved June 15, 2021 from

Alliance for Coffee Excellence (2021d). México 2021. Retrieved June 15, 2021 from

Daily Coffee News (2021c). 28 Farms Win 2021 Guatemala Cup of Excellence Awards, Four Reach 90+. Retrieved June 24, 2021 from

Alliance for Coffee Excellence (2021e). Guatemala 2021. Retrieved June 24, 2021 from

Global Coffee Report (2021). International Women’s Coffee Alliance partners with Cup of Excellence. Retrieved June 15, 2021 from