The First Rwanda Cup of Excellence Coffee Competition 2008

I was very excited to be on the jury for the first-ever Rwanda Cup of Excellence coffee competition in late August 2008.

In fact, it is the first Cup of Excellence in Africa, which is either a blessing or a curse. Curse?

Well, in the promotion of great coffee, CoE is unparalleled. But recent auctions have had extremely high bids on the top lots, and erratic bidding. I worry this sets up the farmers and mills with unrealistic expectations about the relationship between quality coffee and great prices.

We all want the high prices to be a message to the farmers, and a model to increase cup quality and better the lives of farmers. I hope it all works out, and if there was country that could pull it off, it would be Rwanda.

There are so many good minds here, so  many initiatives to improve lives and seek out an economic formula that works in a land traumatized by genocide, where the land is overused, and there’s just not enough of it.

I am betting the CoE will help, and that this competition will continue successfully in Rwanda for the future. -Tom

PS: There’s just too many great photos and not enough time to caption them all. Even without descriptions, I wanted to share them anyway.