Muhondo Coffee washing station, based in Gakenke District of Northern Province, yesterday won the 6th Annual Cup of Excellence.
The competition that is held to reward the best Rwandan coffee, started two months ago in Kayonza District, saw coffee farmers showcase their best coffees to a panel of jurors from around the world.
It was organised by National Agricultural Export Board (NAEB) with support from Alliance of Coffee Excellence; the Ministry of Trade and Industry; Development Bank of Rwanda; Starbucks and I&M Bank.
The first and second runners up were Muyongwe Hagumagati also from Gakenke and Ruvumbu of Nyamasheke District in Western Province respectively.
Rwanda Cup of Excellence is the most esteemed international award given to farmers with top quality coffee.
The winning coffees are chosen by a select group of national and international cuppers and are cupped at least five different times during the competition process.
Cup of Excellence Executive Director, Susie Spindler said the farmers produce great coffee with diverse flavor profiles.
She said the washing stations were transparent enough, to allow identification of the farms putting coffee into the lot no matter how small they were.
Over 170 lots were submitted during the pre-selection phase.
She said the final winners awarded with the prestigious Cup of Excellence would sell to the highest bidder during an internet auction.
“We must salute Rwanda coffee growers…you are very important to the global economy. This year’s quality has been incredible…we were thrilled. Whatever is working is working,” she said attracting applause from hundreds of farmers at the function.
It was only coffees that continuously scored high enough that were pushed to the next stage of the competition.
The Permanent Secretary Ministry of Agriculture, Innocent Musabyimana, said Rwandan coffee was important to the country and its coffee sub-sector.
“Coffee contributes 40% to thecountry’s overall exports…so we must respect its quality. Washing stations determine the quality of coffee, which is why we must upgrade them”.
The PS also advised the Eastern province farmers, to work hard on the quality of the coffee they produce.
“Eastern province accounts for 50% of the coffee we export, yet it doesn’t appear in the best 10, when we consider quality. So the challenge is for the stakeholders to mind about quality in future,” he noted.
The Rwanda Cup of Excellence Award recognises top quality coffees that are produced following strict standards, protocols and rules.