Cup of Excellence, often abbreviated COE on menus, is something more consumers should know about. The video above was produced by Toby’s Estate and it does a great job explaining the competition, interviewing both judges & farmers, and showing what it all entails.

In short, Cup of Excellence is a program active in several coffee producing nations in which a national and international panel of judges taste coffees submitted by farmers, in order to select and award the best coffees. Those coffees are then sold at auction, often fetching the farmers a far higher price as a reward for their attention to quality over quantity. If you see a Cup of Excellence winner on a menu at a cafe that has high standards and a reputable roaster, you should definitely try it – they’re often a special experience and well worth the additional price!