Friday, December 12, 2008

Rwanda Cup of Excellence - part 2

Not sure why it's taken me so long to post this, but my article on the Rwanda Cup of Excellence competition came out about a month ago. Link here.

I really enjoyed working on this story, and wish I could have had more space to give all the details about how Rwanda's coffee industry got to the point where it was able to host a Cup of Excellence competition. It was largely due to USAID projects SPREAD and PEARL.

Here's the first few graphs of the article, read the whole thing at the link above:

Clinton, `Rock Stars' of Coffee Help Change Rwanda's Economy

Nov. 19 (Bloomberg) -- As Christy Thorns, the coffee buyer for Allegro Coffee Co., which supplies Whole Foods Market Inc., sniffed, slurped and spit her way through 24 Rwandan coffees on her evaluating table, she discovered a taste she wasn't used to from that country.

``I'm an acidity freak,'' Thorns said in a telephone interview. ``Citrus, stone fruit and peach. And that's what I got.''

The coffees were samples of the top winners in the first contest held in Africa by the Cup of Excellence program, a non-profit organization that hosts the world's largest coffee competitions. Allegro teamed up with Boston-area roaster Terroir Coffee to place the winning bid of $12.05 a pound for the sixth- place winner, sold during an Internet auction on Oct. 23.

The fact that Rwanda's $45 million coffee industry, which represents half of its income, has specialty buyers in the U.S. raving about its quality is news in itself, given how low the country's beans were regarded just eight years ago.

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