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Costa Rican Gesha breaks COE record at $300 per pound

From the July 2018 issue.

The 2018 Costa Rican Cup of Excellence (COE) auction has made history.

Producer Luis Ricardo Calderon Madrigal has received the highest price ever paid for a COE coffee at US$300.09 per pound.

Luis of Dan Cayito farm entered just one sample in the 2018 COE competition and placed first with a score of 91.29 points for his honey Gesha coffee.

Don Luis Ricardo Calderon and family started processing on their own micro mill, Sintis Café, for the 2009-2010 harvest. In 2011 the Calderon family also won first place in COE and received US$20 per pound for its coffee. Last year the Don Cayito farm placed third in COE and received US$38 per pound for its coffee. This year, the price rose considerable.

"When you tell people that you sold your coffee for 17 millon colones the quintal, no one believes you. I can´t believe it either. Thank God I have a good heart,” Calderon says.

Calderon expected a little over US$80 per pound for his coffee, which was the price received by last year’s COE Costa Rica winner. However, after early interest from Maruyama Coffee in the past few weeks, Luis suspected his coffee could creep up to US$100 per pound, but it just keep going up at auction. 

“When we saw US$120 I thought ‘this is warming up.’ When we heard that we broke the record of COE we were very proud and happy, not only for us but for Café de Costa Rica. Then when the price hit US260 I said ‘wow we need to get to US$300. You can imagine the yelling and shouting when we got to US$300. We were speechless. Only God gives this reward,” Calderon says.

July 10 was historic day for Costa Rica and its producers, but also for the Alliance for Coffee Excellence. It saw the highest weighted average for any entire auction in its 19 years of existence with a price of US$21.69.

It was also the second highest grossing auction ever for COE, with US$829.923 for auction proceeds and more than 2849 total bids placed in the auction, which lasted just over six hours.

Japan’s Maruyama Coffee along with Sarutahiko Coffee and Yamada Coffee were the winning bidders of lot 1a.

Museo Coffee of South Korea won lot 1b of Luis’s coffee, which sold for US$111.21 per pound.

Many of the coffees in the COE auction received some of the highest prices ever paid for any Costa Rica coffee from previous years since its inception in 2007.

Bidders represented China, United States, Taiwan, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Italy, Netherlands and Australia.

The record-breaking producer Calderon hopes his sons and grandsons can continue the same wining path one day. For now, he’s still letting the news sink in.

“It is amazing to see what coffee has become and I’m grateful to coffee because it has allow me and my family to grow," Calderon says.

Alliance for Coffee Excellence is a non-profit global membership organisation dedicated to advancing excellence in coffee. COE, a program which gives out the most prestigious award in coffee, has affected thousands of farmers. Its unmatched focus on quality discovery, farmer premiums and transparency has helped changed the specialty coffee industry.

The next COE auction is for Guatemala on 17 July. On 27 July ACE will finish the Central America auction cycle with the México COE auction.

For more information, visit allianceforcoffeeexcellence.org.

Image credit: COE and La Cafeografa

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