ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia – Ethiopian Coffee and Tea Authority and Feed the Future Ethiopia Value Chain Activity announced that they will move the highly anticipated Cup of Excellence Ethiopia 2020 national and international week competitions to Portland, Oregon due to COVID-19.
The competition was scheduled to be held in Addis Ababa from March 30-April 3 and April 7-10, 2020, in the presence of an international jury. The coffee lots of the top 150 pre-selection winners has been collected and stored in the Addis Ababa Cup of Excellence Center.
However, travel restrictions and lockdowns following the breakout of COVID-19 has made it difficult for the organizers in Ethiopia to carry on the competition as planned.
The announcement came following the decision by the Cup of Excellence Steering Committee to hold the competition and the auction as scheduled, without compromising the safety and health of the national and international jury and support staff.
As a result, the Alliance for Coffee Excellence, an organization that owns Cup of Excellence, will receive samples of all coffee lots and facilitate judging in its Portland facility from April 4-9.
Dr. Adugna Debela, Director General of the Coffee and Tea Authority said the decision to change locations for the Ethiopian Cup of Excellence competition was difficult but in the best interest of the producers and participants.
“Cup of Excellence Ethiopia Organizers and ACE will work in tandem to hold the vetting process with high quality and transparency. We will do everything we can to attract as many bidders so that farmers get the highest price possible for their quality coffee” he said.
Ian Chesterman, Feed the Future Ethiopia Value Chain Activity Chief of Party said that the organizers are committed to making sure the top winners are announced on time. “We will keep our promises to farmers, and we are navigating the way forward in this difficult time,” he said.
ACE Managing Director Darrin Daniel also said that his organization will follow strict protocols to evaluate the samples. “ACE will receive all the lots in our lab in Portland, and we will bring a small, but experienced jury to analyze the samples. These coded lots will be examined and graded from April 4-9. The auction will take place in June (instead of May 28) for nearly 100 interested buyers from the coffee companies in 14 countries,” he said