This year’s El Salvador Cup of Excellence auction broke price records

This year’s El Salvador Cup of Excellence auction broke price records — and touched hearts with a humanitarian gesture.

The auction, which took place last month, ended with the surprising announcement that the buyers from one of the 33 winning lots were donating the projected profits to Ricardo Espitia, Executive Director of the Salvadoran Coffee Council who had suffered a stroke early this year.

Sweet María’s, Tony’s Coffees and Ritual Coffee Roasters wired the funds the very next day to El Salvador. Tom Owen of Sweet María’s explained his rationale: “I had the idea to connect our auction lot to Ricardo’s recovery, and it was terrific that Wendy De Jong (Tony’s Coffees) and Ryan Brown (Ritual Coffee) jumped in immediately. I met Ricardo some years ago and feel he has done more than anyone else to promote and improve the quality of El Salvador specialty coffee. Every time I taste a beautiful cup from this origin, I owe him a debt of gratitude. This is just a little payback. Plus, it was inspiring at the recent competition to see Ricardo dedicated to participating, even though it was extremely challenging for him physically. If this contribution speeds up his recovery, we in the coffee world will all be better for it.”

The auction saw a new record for El Salvador’s first-place coffee. Wataru & Co. Ltd. of Japan, bidding for C&C, purchased the top coffee for $22.25/lb. The previous record was $20.10/lb, set at last year’s auction. A Canadian company, T.A.N. Coffee, placed winning bids on three lots and has already resold nearly half the coffee to other North American roasters who want a taste of extraordinary coffee. The El Salvador auction grossed over $500,000.

While Japanese roasters were the top volume buyer, Salvadoran coffees will also be heading to South Korea, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, U.S., Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

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