ADDIS ABABA – The top-scoring coffee in this year’s cup of excellence competition sold at a staggering price of $407 or 13, 838 birr per kilogram to Maruyama Coffee Co. Ltd from Japan.
This is the highest price ever recorded for an Ethiopian coffee, according to the organizers of the annual excellence competition.
Nigusie Gemeda of Sidama was stunned to see the price paid for his coffee.
“I have been a coffee farmer for a long time, but I’m just learning the value of our coffee,” he said.
“I’m so happy with the result. Never could I have imagined coffee would have sold with such price. Now I know there is a reason for coffee to be cold the green gold,” he said.
The auction for the finest Ethiopian coffee on June 25, 2020, was competitive.
The 168 registered buyers from 33 countries bid 4,137 times for over five hours to secure the sought-after winning coffees. The second top coffees had a total of 902 bids, a record number in the competition history.
The average price for the 28 coffees was $28 per pound, a new record at the Cup of Excellence auction.
The auction also broke the Cup of Excellence record in total sales with $1,348,690, topping the previous record of $830,245 from El Salvador in 2011, which had 42 lots for sale.
“Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee and widely considered to be the producer of the most delicious coffees in the world, yet many of its farmers are among the poorest,” said Geoff Watts, Vice president of Coffee at Intelligentsia.
“This auction sends a message of how that not only validates the investments – and associated risks – in quality but also serves as a reminder that the quality movement is here to stay,” Watts added.
The US Company Coffee at Intelligentsia bought the second highest coffee that belongs to Rumudamo Coffee PLC, from Sidama at $108 or approximately 3, 672 birr.
The company sometimes sells a kilo of coffee at less than a dollar.
Bogale Woledehana, general manager of Rumudamo Coffee, said “it’s a powerful lesson and beyond what we could have had imagined”.
“We sell our coffee for less than a dollar at times and it’s been discouraging for growers. Now we see there is a market we can tap into if we can guarantee the quality,” he said.
At least 35 out-grower farmers supply Coffee to Rumudamo and they are excited about these prices.
“None of us heard of a coffee that sold at this amount. It’s a surprise for everybody,” said Bogale. His company had another winning coffee in the auction that sold at $35.10 or 1, 193 birr per pound.
The third highest price went to Testi Trading Plc at $66.60 or approximately 2264 birr per pound, sold to Block Gold Coffee Co. Ltd of Taiwan. “WE are pleased with the result,” said Fysel Abdosh, manager of Testi.
Authorities are happy to see the record-breaking auction.
“This shows what happens when we invest in quality,” said Dr. Adugan Debela, Director General of the Ethiopian Coffee and Tea Authority.
“We have succeeded in the faces of challenging times. We had made difficult decisions and bold moves to make the completion going despite the pandemic,” he said. “Congratulations to all of our farmers”.
The selected exporter of the cup of excellence coffees has finished cleaning and vacuum packing all lots, and nearly 20, 000 kilograms of coffee is ready to export for the highest bidders in 33 countries.