UCC Quality Contest


The producers are always at the centre of our work.
We are able to continue positively impacting society specifically because we have developed alongside the producers.

We have successfully built positive relationships with producers who share our desire to improve the coffee industry across the board

The UCC Quality Contest has been running for over 20 years.
Aiming to contribute further to realising a sustainable society

The UCC Quality Contest is a coffee quality competition for coffee producers in designated regions. Since first being held in 2001 in Espirito Santo, Brazil, the event has gradually expanded. To date, it has been held in seven host nations across the world.

To compete in the contest, producers submit their best quality coffee for ranking. With producers working harder and harder to show off their product, quality has improved alongside revenue, leading to greater motivation for production. Top finishers in the contest can receive extra prizes depending on their country's conditions. This includes cash prizes, farm equipment, price discounts, and more. Through the UCC Quality Contest, we aim to build positive relationships with producers and ensure stable procurement high quality coffee as a result.

Origins of the Contest

Coffee prices fluctuate due to factors such as supply, demand, speculation, and exchange rate. In 2001, prices fell to an all-time low of 41.5 cents per pound during a period that is now known as the Coffee Crisis.

At that time, the cost of producing coffee was estimated to be 70-80 cents per pound, which made coffee an undesirable crop for producers. The more one produced, the more difficult it became to make a living. Due to these conditions, producers began to cut back on expenses such as fertiliser and maintenance costs, along with shortening costly harvest operations. These decisions led to a deterioration in quality, which in turn further reduced producer revenue, creating a vicious cycle.

Furthermore, if coffee were to become an undesirable crop, coffee production volumes would decline due to producers abandoning or changing their crops. For consumer countries, this would make it difficult to stably procure quality coffee. Understanding the urgent circumstances, the UCC Quality Contest was launched as an initiative to address the situation.

UCC Quality Contest started in 2001.
Rather than single out what is best, the contest aims to contribute to improving farmer livelihoods by broadly improving the base quality,
This is now leading to stable procurement, improved farmer livelihoods,
and better regional branding.

7 Contest Host Nations

Quality Contest Goals


  • Improved standard of living through higher income
  • Motivation to improve quality assurance technologies



  • Environmental Conservation
  • Retain coffee producers
  • Developing a coffee community
  • Strengthen connections with producers
  • Retaining quality materials over the long term

In addition to coffee quality, we have established a sustainability evaluation criteria to increase the level of sustainability among all of our suppliers

We added a sustainability evaluation criteria to mark the 20th anniversary of the contest.
With interest in the sustainability development goals (SDGS) growing, and with sustainability an important issue in the coffee industry, we have established concrete criteria for assessment in the contest to help producers understand the importance of sustainability.

  • Traceability

    Managing for traceability of the coffee spanning procurement of raw materials to processing, distribution, and sale

  • Management

    Managing soil, pesticides (distribution records, storage, etc.), training workers, etc.

  • Environment

    Proper disposal of waste, wastewater, etc.

  • Company

    Prohibition of forced labour and child labour, improvements to working environments, etc.

Initiatives with Producer Countries
- From Coffee Cultivation to Cup