KIGALI - Coffee experts are in the final stages of giving names to a range of Rwandan coffee as a way of attracting potential buyers and adding value to its market price.
The exercise, dubbed ‘Appellation Reference Research’, is being conducted in the cupping laboratory of Starbucks in Kigali.
Currently, it has entered its final stage with experts identifying coffee quality attributes which will see the production given names before being sent to the market.
During the exercise, experts are also studying various ways of improving the coffee - including the nature of soils, chlorophyll, temperature, rains, and farmers’ practices, among other things, expected to impact on the quality of coffee produced in the country.
According to the experts, this will lay a foundation to the improvement of the coffee quality.
Under the coordination of SPREAD, a project under the National University of Rwanda, the process started with coffee sampling from the northern region of the country, the central Kivu in the west and Huye in the south.
The coffee produced from these regions was preferred after research revealed that it had special and consistent profiles in comparison to other regions of the country, an official from the project said.
SPREAD (Sustaining Partnerships to Enhance Rural Enterprise and Agribusiness
Development), is a 5-year project sponsored by the USAID, which combines agricultural improvement efforts with health education and health services with the aim of helping farmers improve their lives.
The appellations exercise is also supported by the Rwanda Coffee Development Authority (OCIR Café) and the Centre for Geographical Information System (CGIS) which provides GPS coordinates on coffee plantations and growing regions.
An official from the project told The New Times that they want to give Rwandan coffee appellation in order to attract more consumers.
“We want to give them names according to their profiles so that they can be recognized on the global market,” said Pascal Gakwaya Kalisa, the project’s quality control coordinator in the southern region.
“The coffee will be sold under those appellations so that every time a consumer goes to look for that special coffee, he/she knows what he wants and where to find it,” Kalisa added.
Paul V. Songer, a coffee sensory testing expert and Head Judge of the Rwanda Coffee Cup of Excellence, a competition that awards the very best coffee, told this paper that the exercise will contribute to marketing the Rwandan coffee on the international market.
“After identifying special coffee flavours and attributes, coffee will be recognised, advertised and sold under those qualities. In fact, people get interested and purchase,” Songer said.
“The idea is that if you provide the quality of coffee people want, you can get the price you want,” Songer observed.
According to Songer, this will benefit coffee growers as their coffee will be purchased on higher prices.