Missoula, MT (July 2, 2007) – Five years after El Salvador farmers first rallied around the Cup of Excellence® program, the 2007 auction delivered its highest overall average prices to the 23 winning farmers. With an average price of $5.18 per pound, and a top price of over $15 per pound, the success experienced at auction provides the winning farmers with the financial incentive to continue to focus on the kind of quality that has garnered this small Central American country esteem among top specialty coffee buyers worldwide.

Ricardo Espitia, Executive Director of The Salvadoreño del Café noted, “This year brought the highest average price ever of all of the five competitions we’ve held. This is important not just for the top-ranked coffees, but for all participants, and a good indication of how coffees from El Salvador are being positively placed in the marketplace.”

This fifth year also proved successful for the diversity of the winners. Three of the top four winners were smaller farmers from Chalatenago, a fairly unknown region close to the Honduras border and the same region that Finca Los Planes is located. Finca Los Planes pacamara coffee recieved 2nd place in the 2006 auction and was purchased by PTs Coffee Roasting Co. for over $17/lb.

The majority of coffee producers in El Salvador are medium in size with relatively fewer small farms or very large estates.

El Salvador, once one of the top five powerhouses in coffee production, lost its share of the marketplace during the 1980s internal war. With conflict well behind them, the coffee industry in El Salvador has supported the Cup of Excellence program as a means to provide them with the specialty focus needed to help reestablish its former prestige.

During the awards ceremony, held May 25, 2007 in San Salvador, Espitia presented the audience with historical coffee price and export charts, which illustrated the increase in the number of premium coffee buyers who have made purchases since the Cup of Excellence program began. Millions of dollars of added value to coffee exports can be attributed to the efforts of the El Salvador industry in placing its major focus on increasing top quality coffee.

The Pacamara variety, which was relatively unknown before the Cup of Excellence program brought it cupping accolades, dominated this year’s event with eight winning coffees, including the first place coffee, being of that variety. The winning coffee with a 92.8 score from Raul Ochoa’s La Montaña farm was described by the international jury as having an extremely long finish, bright lively acidity with spine and an enduring sweetness from start to finish.

“I am very pleased with the results of this auction especially since we obtained a price we wouldn’t have otherwise received. Thanks to the organizers of this event, our region is positioning itself very well in the minds of respected buyers. I, along with the rest of the producers from the Chalatenago region, feel very honored with this recognition,” Ochoa said during the live internet auction for the coffees.

PTs Coffee Roasting Co. along with Stumptown Roasters and Solberg & Hansen Coffee Roasters from Norway purchased Finca Los Planes prior to the Cup of Excellence Auction this year and paid 2x the fair trade price for the coffee. An exceptional price for an exceptional coffee, and family that grow the coffee, at Finca Los Planes . “We look forward to a long relationship with Sergio Ticas,” owner of Finca Los Planes , “and his family. We will support them in every way we can.”

This was the 34th Cup of Excellence program overall. Since its inception in 1999, competitions and auctions have been held in Brazil, Nicaragua. Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Bolivia, Colombia and Costa Rica.