How 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.


The most important part of any auction is the bidding. In a traditional auction the bidding starts for one lot at a time, with bids increasing until the highest bid, with no further bids above it, 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 every lot has a first bid on it, the clock starts ticking for the whole auction and all lots are set with a 3 minute countdown.
  • Each time a new bid is placed on any of the lots the clock resets to 3 minutes for all the lots. o The auction continues until the clock hits zero with no further bids to reset it.
  • In this way the bidding on the auction as a whole sets the price for all the lots. Because the outcome of each lot is dependent upon the clock and the competitive bidding on the other lots, the clock is reset many times over.
The auction organizers will start the auction at an Opening Bid price, which is a price per lb/pound. Each lot will show the quantity within the lot (in both number of bags and pounds) and the total price on the lot listing before the auction will reflect the opening price per pound multiplied by the number of pounds for that given lot. If the auction doesn't exceed this level, then the organizers maintain the right to withdraw that lot from the auction.
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.
Yes, to bid in our auction you have to first register with us. This means we know who you are and that you understand and accept our Terms & Conditions. Once your registration has been accepted you can begin bidding.


If you have an interest in an item and would like to place the item on your watch list, simply click the “Add to Watch List” link on a listing.
If the auction has not started, you can select to “Preview” to view the lot details or add to your “Watchlist”. In auction-style listings, the “Preview” button changes to the “Bid Now” option when the auction goes live. This is only available up until the point where a user places a winning bid. After a winning bid is placed at the end of the auction, the “Bid Now” option goes away and the item is then sold to that highest bidder.
You can bid on an item in an auction by entering your bid amount in the listing. We’ll let you know via email if someone else bids higher so that you can bid again if you still want the item. To avoid being outbid, enter the highest amount or maximum amount you’re willing to pay. Our automatic bidding system increases your bid incrementally so you’ll remain the highest bidder up until it reaches your maximum bid. If someone bids higher than your maximum, we’ll let you know in case you want to bid again. Note: Only bid on items you intend to buy. In most cases, you can’t retract your bid. If you win, you must pay the seller.
Yes, we have an automatic bidding system. To use it, enter the highest amount or maximum bid you are willing to pay and let our automated software bid for you. Our system will increase your bid incrementally and you’ll remain the highest bidder up until it reaches your maximum bid. If someone bids higher than your maximum, we’ll let you know via email in case you still want the item.
Our online bidding updates in real time – this means that you do not have to reload or refresh the website page to find out what the current highest bid is - the page will update automatically every 3 seconds. Your winning and losing status will be updated in real time as bids are entered by other users against your bids.

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.