How to bid

How to bid

Are you ready to bid?

Bidding on the internet is much the same as bidding for an item on-site in a live auction room. There are many different styles of auctions and an online auction seeks to replicate each experience, for buyers to participate from anywhere in the world.

For those who have not taken part in an online coffee auction before, here’s how the process works.


Q. How does the auction work?

A. The most important part of any auction is the bidding. In a traditional auction, the lots are auctioned one lot at a time. Bids are placed, the bidding price increases until eventually the highest bid is placed, and no more bids are placed. The bidder with the highest bid wins the lot.

Specialty coffee auctions are different; they work as a ‘Helmsman’ style auction also known as ‘ multi-unit. It works like this:

  • Open bidding starts and continues on all lots simultaneously until each and every lot has received an initial bid.
  • As soon as each lot has received a bid, the auction clock for each lot, starts ticking down from 3 minutes towards zero.
  • Every time a bid is placed, the clock resets to 3 minutes remaining.
  • Once the clock reaches zero, the auction is over and the winners are declared.

This means the full value is achieved for each and every coffee in the auction. This is because the outcome for each coffee is tied to the outcome of the auction as a whole. The more people bid, the more the coffees remain available across the whole auction. This means the producers will receive good value for their coffee and we will all contribute to the sustainability of their farming.

Q. Do I have to register?

A. To participate in any V-Auction event, registration is required. You will need to create a V-Auction account and agree to our Auction Platform's Terms & Conditions. By doing so, we can verify your identity and ensure that you are aware of and agree to our policies. Once your registration has been approved and you have accepted the bidding agreement for the upcoming auction, you will be ready to bid on the day of the event.

Q. How do I Apply to bid in a V-Auction event?

A. To participate in bidding, you must first log in or register on the site, and create a V-Auction account. Once you've confirmed your details, you will be directed to a page showing the upcoming auctions, where you can accept the bidding agreement.

Alternatively, if you already have a V-Auction account, you'll see a reminder each time you log in to accept the current year's bidding agreement, and also on the auction page.

It's worth noting that the bidding agreement is reviewed annually to account for any changes in the circumstances of the coffee producers. Therefore, you must accept the current bidding agreement every time you wish to bid in an auction. Please remember that you won't be able to participate in an auction unless you've accepted the bidding agreement for the current year.

Q. What is the V-Auction Login system?

A. This auction is run in partnership with V-Auction, and we now have a new login system! Your V-Auction login details will be valid across our marketplace and all our different auctions throughout the year. This means that you can use the same email address and password to log in to all auctions from the various producers that we work with at V-Auction.

Soon you will be able to view all of your activity in one place, from which auctions you have applied to bid on, to your invoice.

Q. How do I place a bid and what is an auto-bid?

A. Bids can be made in one of three ways:

  • Bid by the next suggested increment: You can bid at the next increment by pressing the “Bid” button and then pressing “Confirm” to confirm you wish to place a bid at the corresponding amount.
  • Bid at a higher amount than the current increment: You can bid at a higher amount than the current increment and enter your own bid amount (as long as it is greater than or equal to the current bid plus the minimum increment) into the text box by the “Bid” button. Once you place the amount you want to bid press “Bid” and then confirm your bid by pressing “Confirm”. Your bid will then be placed in the system and all bidders will see the change in the current bid on the webpage.
  • Auto Bidding: You may choose to place an “auto-bid” (also known as a ‘Proxy Bid’) which sets the maximum amount you wish to spend. Autobids are placed by the platform in your behalf up to the maximum bid you set when you placed the autobid. It is important to understand that for your auto-bid to be placed, it must be higher than the current highest bid. For example, if you set your auto-bid to a maximum of $30/lb, the platform will bid on your behalf up to a maximum of $30/lb. Once the bidding in the auction exceeds $30/lb your autobid will no longer place any bids on your behalf. Once your autobid has been exceeded, you will need to place another autobid for the platform to continue to bid on your behalf.

Q. What is pre-bidding?

A. Pre-bidding is a phase where participants can place bids on the lots at any time prior to the start of the live auction. Placing a bid during the pre-bidding stage can give you an advantage over other bidders. Your pre-bid could be the winning bid if no other bidder submits a higher bid during the live auction. Participants will have until the live auction starts to place a pre-bid and then the auction will start as usual.

You can also place autobids during this phase. Autobids will bid on your behalf throughout the auction up to the maximum bid set when you placed it.

Remember! The pre-bids that you place when the auction is open for pre-bidding will be used when the live auction starts.

Q. Will my name be public during the auction?

A. The identity of each Bidder will be anonymous and unknown to other Bidders prior to and during, the Internet Auction. Bidders will be identified by a random ‘Paddle Number’.

The identity of the highest bidder for each Lot will be made public when the winners are declared at the end of the auction. The winners' details will be passed on to the producers and used to form the contract for the sale of the coffee. finalize shipping arrangements.

Q. How long does the auction last?

A. The usual time allowed for the initial period (before all lots have received a bid) is an hour but will be determined by the number of lots and participating buyers. Once the clock starts ticking, it all depends on the level of demand. Do not be mistaken into thinking that this style of auction is over very quickly - expect several hours for specialty coffee auctions.

Q. How can I keep track of the auction in progress?

A. Real-time updates are essential in a coffee auction where the auction clock is counting down quickly between bids, and it is what makes online systems perfect for this type of auction. We recommend that you have a fast stable internet connection for your auction participation.

Q. Once I win a lot, how do I proceed to do the payment?

A. Payment for auction lots is due in FULL 15 days after the auction date. Please ensure you are familiar with the Terms & Conditions you agree to when you register for the auction.

If the winning Bidder does not pay the due amount within this time, the lots will be offered to the bidder who placed the second-highest bid.

After the auction has closed we will be in touch with you to arrange payments, contracts and shipping. Once all these are agreed upon, payment will be made by bank or wire transfer. Other options are available and we can discuss those as they arise.

For destinations that are not served by our certified coffee importers, payment in full is required prior to the coffee leaving the country of origin.