A Taste of Rwanda is a coffee competition organized by CEPAR (Coffee Exporters and Processors Association of Rwanda) to allow all its members to have their coffee tasted and given a score (the so-called cupping profiles).
The price at stake is the Second Sunrise Taste of Rwanda award, a golden opportunity to acknowledge the work of coffee farmers who produce unique flavors of Rwandan coffee.
The 2021 edition saw Nova Coffee Lot 1 as the winner of the Second Sunrise Taste of Rwanda 2021, as its score of 87,31 ended up being the best of the competition. Nova is one of the Coffee Washing Stations supported by ICU under the EU-funded project “A market driven approach for value chain improvements and the expansion of the Rwandan coffee market”. The station, aside from benefitting from the training provided to the farmers that supply it with coffee, will receive a new cupping laboratory, to give potential buyers the chance to taste their coffee, and new metallic drying tables that will increase the quality of the processing.
Nova Coffee is a processor and exporter located in Gicumbi District, Northern province, and run by Rwandan women. The Coffee Washing Station is led by Agnes Mukamushinja a motivated and inspiring entrepreneur who helped to transform the coffee industry in Rwanda.
Agnes says: “Most people think that women in coffee business are only engaged in farming but we are also in production, processing and marketing. We are very happy for this recognition since it is the result of hard work in the coffee sector and it is really encouraging. This award is an incentive that will keep us, both the washing station’s staff and our farmers, motivated to keep improving the quality of our coffee so that we keep up the positive momentum.”
Out of 50 coffee lots that participated in the competition, only the first 13 that exceed a score of 85 were announced winners of Second Sunrise Taste of Rwanda, with Nova Coffee Lot 1 being the coffee with the best score.
The competition was tough since the winning coffees were chosen after a deep analyses conducted by a selected group of national and international cuppers. Coffees were cupped at least five different times during the competition process. Among the selected cuppers, we happily highlight the presence of Laetitia Mukandahiro, currently employed with ICU Rwanda as Branding & Marketing Expert.
To win the competition, the competitor must have an exceptional coffee with good taste, aroma and flavor and other details that attract cuppers. The highest scoring micro lots get the chance to be sold through an online auction to international buyers. This increase the profitability of Coffee Washing Stations which, in turn, are able to award farmers with a premium (i.e. a financial bonus for providing high-quality coffee), a prize that supports the development of the entire value chain.
On the consumer side, coffee drinkers get the chance to buy world class coffee from Rwanda that is completely traceable as they will know exactly where their beans came from, who grew them and how they got from the plant to cup.