The Alliance for Coffee Excellence, the organization behind Cup of Excellence – “The Oscars of the coffee world“, it's been called – have launched a spin-off project for established COE producers to sell exclusive small lots of coffee on the internet. This will happen via a live all-day auction, pitting roasters worldwide to bid on a small selection of some highly regarded coffees.
Our partners at Fincas Mierisch have teamed up with Alliance for Coffee Excellence for the grand premier of these private estate auctions. The first, taking place on April 25th, features fifteen coffees, separated out into thirty-nine small lots, in a selection named Los Favoritos.
We spoke with ACE Executive Director Susie Spindler, who tells us, “A lot of people don't realize that Alliance for Coffee Excellence has been operating Cup of Excellence since 2002.” This disconnect is one of the reasons ACE relaunched their website last year. “We decided last year to launch a brand new website for the ACE – and in doing that, it allows us to pursue a lot of different avenues. We can do the Cup of Excellence – it's always been the focus of what we do – but we can start doing estate programs, training programs, and education programs.”
Until 2011, Erwin Mierisch worked alongside Susie Spindler for eleven years as the Cup of Excellence operations manager. “There's a strong bond between the Mierisch families and farms and ACE,” Spindler told us. When it was announced that there would be no 2013 Nicaragua Cup of Excellence, Steve approached Susie about the Private Auction Program.
“It just made perfect sense to have Erwin, Steve, and Mierisch family on board,” Susie explained, “They know what quality means, they know how to select lots, and their lots will be very unique – their whole farming system has been one of experimentation, improving, putting the work in, and trying to find the best coffee. They really love coffee. They are focused on the enormous possibilities of potential.”
“We are very honored to be the first to participate,” Steve Mierisch told Sprudge. “Our goal is to get the best representations of each kind of coffee that we produce – and I think we've done it. There are fifteen different coffees – we've got some lots that are 23lbs, some that are 100lbs, and up to 540lbs.”
For this auction, the Mierisch family wanted to reach as many potential buyers as possible. “We've broken down the larger lots into smaller four hundred pound batches – we wanted to make it accessible to any size roaster.”
There are seven unique varieties of coffee within the fifteen lot auction. These include Javanica, Orange Bourbon, and Laurina, a naturally occurring caffeine-free variety, as well as a few lots of Yellow Pacamara, a naturally occurring hybridization of Pacamara – where the ripe cherry is, well, yellow. 5 years ago they noticed yellow cherries in a plot of land where they had Pacamara planted. The plant characteristics were the same as Pacamara, except for the cherry color; they began to separate these seeds in order to intentionally grow this unique Yellow Pacamara.
“This is the first year that we're selling Yellow Pacamara,” Mr. Mierisch tells us. “From what I understand, this is a naturally occurring hybridization. We found it growing on our farm Limoncillo five years ago, and we've spent those years processing and planting it for seed. Now, those seedlings are bearing fruit. This is the first year we've harvested it for export – there's 339 pounds of washed (Lot 2236-A) and 157 of pulp-natural (Lot 2535-A) coffee.”
For those interested in participating in the auction, samples are being sent out now, visit the ACE website to register. To learn more about Fincas Mierisch, check out their comprehensive website. Those attending the SCAA Event in Boston in April will have a chance to taste Los Favoritos. Stay tuned to Sprudge for more information.