Who is ACE and COE?

The Alliance for Coffee Excellence (ACE) is a Non-Profit
organization established in 1999, based in Portland, USA.
ACE owns and runs the Cup of Excellence program. Our
mission is to reward exceptional quality coffee farmers
around the world. This is done through a extensive
cupping process which selects best coffees in origin
countries. These coffees are then sold to buyers around
the world through online auctions.

What do we do?

Along with our in-country partners (COE organizing institutions in every specific origin) around the world, we summon all coffee farmers of a specific country to submit their coffees to the COE competition. The coffees are blindly cupped by a select group of professional cuppers, throughout different elimination stages, who score the coffees based on their attributes. The best coffees advance to further stages.

All coffees are coded and a 3rd party auditing coffee is non-affiliated to never knows whose coffee they are cupping AT any stage, our in-country partners nor ACE. Cuppers will never know whose coffee they are cupping in any of the stages. This way we guarantee transparent and fair competition. Once the coffees are selected and the winners are announced,

ACE members will have the opportunity to cup the decoded coffees having access to all the coffee’s corresponding information such as farm, farmer, variety, process, and region. These members will participate in the online auction and bid for the best coffee.

How can I become a member?

You may acquire your membership through our online site (link above).

Members will have a series of benefits and will be able to purchase sample sets of the coffees that will be auctioned,
giving them the chance of cupping the coffee prior to bidding.

Only members will have access to bidding on Cup of Excellence and National Winner’s auctions.

What benefits will I get from being a member?

ACE has tailored 3 membership tiers, you may visit our website for more information regarding


Community Member $350

  • Community members can choose which sample sets and registrations they’d like to purchase
  • 20% discount off SET courses
  • 10-35% sponsor discounts
  • Can register for 2023 (1 year)


Allied Member $1700

  • 3 full sample sets (CoE & National Winners)
  • 20% discount off SET courses
  • 10-35% sponsor discounts
  • Medium custom engraved plaque (5×7 inches)


Benefactor Member $5800

  • Benefactor Members receive all CoE and National Winner sample sets
  • 20% discount on SET courses
  • 10-35% sponsor discounts
  • Large custom engraved plaque (8×10 inches)

How are the coffees going to the COE auction selected?


All received coffees from farmers of the country who have enrolled are coded by the auditing firm. Once coded, all coffees are blindly cupped by a panel of cuppers who
have passed a test applied by ACE, guaranteeing proper skills to cup. The best 150 coffees obtaining 86+ points advance to the next stage.

National Jury Round 1

The auditing firm codes once again with a different code the coffees. They are blindly cupped by the panel and the top 90 coffees obtaining 86+ points advance to the next

National Jury round 2

The auditing firm codes once again with a different code the coffees. They are blindly cupped by the panel and the top 40 coffees obtaining 86+ points advance to the
international round.

International Jury Round 1

Coffees are recoded once again. A different panel than the previous national cuppers, this one made up of approximately 20 international (+1 or 2 local cuppers) travel to
origin countries and evaluate the coffees selected by the National Jury. Those with scores greater than 86 points go international jury round 2.

International Jury Round 2

Coffees are recoded again. The top 30 coffees obtaining 87+ points advance to the Cup of Excellence auction. Any coffees that obtained between 85 and 86.99 or are not in
the top 30 coffees scoring 87+ may participate in the National Winners auction.

Top 10

The top 10 coffees from the prior round are recoded. These top 10 are cupped once again to define the final position they will be auctioned with.

How can I buy COE coffee?

Once you final results & winners have been announced, ACE members will receive and/or may
purchase sample sets of their choice. Approximately 40 days after the results announcements an
online auction will happen.

This auction is open to ACE members only. You will log in with your ACE membership credentials.


Will generally open on a set date at 9:00am New York time. The buyers will place bids on their lots of interest
through the online bidding platform. Once all lots have bids a 3 minute timer will begin. Every time any lot
gets a bid, the 3 minute timer will reset. When 3 minutes have passed and no bids have been place in any lot,
the auction will conclude. (Auction time could be between 4-7 hours, sometimes more sometimes less)


Will generally open on a set date at 9:00am New York time. The buyers will have 1 week to place bids on their
desired lots. The auction will close at an established date and time. NOTE: in the National Winners auction if a
lot received a bid within the last 10 minutes, 15 minutes will be added to only that specific lot auction closure

I want to try the COE coffee before participating in the auctions. How can I do this?

You must be an ACE member in order to purchase a sample set.

A sample set consists of 200 grams of green beans for every lot that will be auctioned.
For example, if the Guatemala COE auction will be composed of 28 lots; the bidder who
has purchased a sample set will receive a box containing 28 small bags. Each bag will
contain 200 grams of a specific lot.

The bidder must roast and cup these coffees to define their desired lots to bid on the

COMMUNITY MEMBERSHIP: This does not include any sample sets, every sample set
must be purchased separately. COE and National Winner sample sets are sold

ALLIED MEMBERSHIP: Includes sample sets (COE+NW) of the 3 countries chosen by
member at the time of enrollment.

BENEFACTOR MEMBERSHIP: Includes all samples of auctions (COE+NW)

I can not buy a full lot, I just need some boxes. What can I do? (buying groups)

COE lots are generally exported in boxes. Each box contains 30kg of green beans.

In occasions a group of interested buyers will join to purchase 1 whole lot. ACE sets
up a WhatsApp group for bidders to join prior an auction. Bidders may express their
desired lots of interest, and when a matching buyer(s) comes up, the buying parties
may privately talk to define details such as maximum price, amount to be taken by
each buying party, who will be the lead bidder etc.


The communication of the interested buyers among each other is not ACE’s or COE’s responsibility.

The group must choose 1 lead bidder who will place bids on behalf of the rest of the group at the
previously discussed prices. The lead bidder is responsible for any defaults should a buying party
member withdraw or does not pay for the coffee. The lead bidder must also share the bidding
agreement that will be provided by ACE prior to the auction with his group members

Buying parties can be conformed of members of different countries. They do NOT have to be in the
same country. Our exporter is able to split lots (only full boxes) and ship to different destinations
around the world. There is a cost for splitting lot who is regularly assumed by the additional buyer.

How will I pay for and receive my coffee?

Every COE competition has a designated exporter who prepares and ships
the COE lots to winning bidders around the world.

This exporter will handle the shipping instructions provided by the winning
bidder, or quote shipping options for the winning bidders. Once the
shipping details have been defined, the winning bidder will wire transfer
the payment to the exporters bank account which has previously been
verified the amount due for the coffee plus shipping costs.

The exporter will now proceed to ship the coffee to the winning bidder and provide the proper shipment tracking details and documents. Shipping terms vary from country to country. A bidding agreement will state the shipping terms and other important details to the buyers prior to bidding. All registered buyers will receive a bidding agreement and must agree to terms prior to bidding.

The winning bidder is responsible for:

Properly providing the shipping details to the exporter

Providing instructions regarding documentation needed to receive the coffee

Any customs duties/processes/costs at the destination country of the coffee.

What other projects does ACE have?

Private Collection Auctions (PCA)

Adhering to ACE’s mission of rewarding exemplary coffee farmers, we have established our Private Collection Auction program. By pinpointing exceptional producers with this program, we will curate auctions with organizations and farmers who best exemplify ACE’s standards. We work with farms, estates, and interested organizations that meet the rigorous standards that ACE has pioneered since its inception in 1999. For more information on PCA’s click here.

Sensory Educational Training (SET Courses)

ACE training courses are designed to give serious coffee professionals the tools to move their businesses to the next level of expertise. Based on the Cup of Excellence (COE) protocol, the “gold standard” of cupping methods, Sensory Educational Training (SET) allow us to share knowledge with those who want to improve their businesses by driving coffee excellence. Open to ACE members, non-members, roasters, retailers, importers, exporters, producers, green buyers, and baristas with cupping experience are invited to join us. For more information on SET courses, please be attentive of our social media, or contact [email protected]

I want to assist a COE International Jury week (Observers & Jurors)

Every Cup of Excellence Competition has an international Jury stage. This stage is composed by
a panel of International Cuppers from companies around the world. In order to join a COE
International Jury you must follow the next steps:

Your company must be an ACE member

You must have applied and been selected as an observer. Once selected you must have
participated in an International Jury.

After one or more observer participation where the copper has proven they are proficient cuppers, observers will now be enabled to apply for future competitions as a juror.

What is an observer?

An observer’s participation during an international week consists of the full COE experience, meaning they will
participate in all cuppings and activities along with the jury, but the observer’s scores will not be taken into
account to determine the scores of the coffee. Also note the observer must cover their accommodation and
food expenses (whereas a COE Juror has these expenses covered by the host country). Both observers and jurors
are responsible for their travel arrangements/visas/permits and expenses to arrive in the destination country.
The host country will assist with accommodation and food arrangements for observers but do NOT cover the
After having attended as an observer to a COE competition, depending on the skills and experience you will be
enabled to apply as a COE scoring judge for future competitions.

COE Scoring Jurors only pay for the airfare to and from the country along with any visa/travel arrangements.
Food, transport, and accommodation will be covered by host country.

Contacting COE and ACE

Inquiries regarding Cup of
Excellence and National
Winners program: [email protected]

Inquiries regarding PCA’s and
auction related questions: [email protected]

Inquiries regarding education,
training and SET courses: [email protected]

Inquiries regarding an
order/purchase you have
placed on our website : [email protected]

Any other/general inquiries: [email protected]

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