KARONGI- The 36 best coffee producers in the country were rewarded during the third coffee Cup of Excellence awards ceremony held in Karongi District, over the weekend.
The winners received certificates of excellence for their outstanding samples of coffee selected during the competition.
The Minister of agriculture, Agnes Kalibata, presided over the colourful ceremony that attracted both local and international coffee cuppers from various parts of the world.
Kalibata noted that Rwandan coffee has potential and that it was upon the farmers to improve both its quality and quantity to continue shining on the international market.
The Minister said that coffee had become a big foreign exchange earner for the country, calling on the farmers to double their production and standards by utilising manure and coffee washing machines that are now closer to farms.
“Rwandan coffee is arguably the best in the world. We have the potential to top any other coffee producer and we can prove this by maintaining the quality,” she said.
Kalibata urged the members of the jury to be ambassadors of Rwanda and take back home the message of her excellent coffee, tea and natural scenario of a thousand hills the country is endowed with.
The ‘Cup of Excellence’ competition is the most esteemed award to top coffees in Rwanda.
The competition involved the tasting of 189 samples of Rwandan coffee at the initial stage.
60 samples from the best coffee producers and cooperatives made it to the international level, and from these, 36 samples won the Cup of Excellence (COE) award.
Ten of these samples made it to the international tasting level and three of these were recognised for specialty and superiority.
The COE Head Judge, Silvio Leite, said that 70 percent of the coffee passed the selections as a result of careful preparation by both the coffee washing stations and farmers. He was impressed by the high quality of cuppers as well as the coffees.
“At least three samples of the finalists had a great taste and specialness in smoothness, sweetness and cleanliness; and could win the world award at international competitions.
“Rwandan coffee is extraordinary and its potential keeps surprising the cuppers. Rwanda is a small country but that doesn’t limit its potential in producing the best coffee. The jury has been astonished by the special taste of Rwandan coffee.”
The farmers said that the Cup of Excellence is of great importance to them and the income from the international market has changed their lives.
They made a commitment to increase coffee production and use best farming practices.