Everything from the number of producers that submitted coffees, to the quality of the winning coffees and the engagement of the producing communities was amazing. On top of that we were humbled by the support of the international coffee community, especially our judges, who put in the time and expense to be with us and assess these lots, the Concerjo for El Salvadorian Coffee that volunteered their time and people and our El Salvadorian connections that helped establish the event, Alejandro Mendez, Mauricio Salaverria, Gilberto Baraona and Jorge Raul Rivera.

We cupped 36 lots as an International Judging Panel and selected the top 8 in both a Washed Category and Honey/Natural Category. Those 16 coffees became our finalists and our auction lots and they were incredibly tasty coffees.

An absolute highlight of the event was announcing the winners, Jorge Raul Rivera with his Natural Pacamara from his farm Santa Rosa in Chalatenango, and Ever Leonel Díaz Pérez, our Washed Category Champion with his pacamara from Finca Milaydi, Chalatenango. Raul has been a previous COE winner and reminds us why we love honey and natural pacamaras from El Salvador. But Ever was a stranger to the spotlight and his story really proved why events such as these can help change the specialty coffee industry.

Finca Milaydi is only one manzana (about 2 acres) and he can only produce 6-15 bags per year so has had trouble entering other competitions given the minimum lot size requirements. In the past he has sold his coffee for about USD$2/lb to other producers, and his coffee would get combined with other lots then get entered into competitions, often winning and being sold for quite high prices.

This year he submitted 6 bags into the Project Origin: Best of El Salvador Auction and won. He earned himself an auction price of USD$9.60/lb and direct credit for the quality of that coffee, two things he has never had before.

In July, Project Origin heads to Honduras to do it all again in the Santa Barbara region.