Friday 14 June 2024
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An exclusive interview with Philotée Mukiza, the winner Best of the Best Eiica

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MILANO – Coffee beans grown by Rwanda ’s Ngororero Coffee Washing Station, represented by Ms. Philotée Mukiza, were designated “Best of the Best” in the third annual 2018 Ernesto Illy International Coffee Award (EIICA).

The award winner was chosen from among the world’s top lots from the 2017/2018 harvests in nine countries, whose growers attended a gala at the Rainbow Room last night.

A separate “Coffee Lover’s Choice” award, presented by United Airlines, was also conferred to Ms. Mukiza on behalf of Ngororero Coffee Washing Station. So, she was also the best candidate to be interviewed as one of the great “women of coffee” which enrich the supply chain.

Philotee Muzica’s story

“I’m from Rwanda. I worked for Rwalf Export LTD as a production manager. Today I’m we won the Ernesto illy International Coffee Award. “

Why did you choose to make a living with coffee? Was it for passion or for something else?

“At the beginning I didn’t know much about coffee. I was just fresh graduated and I was just looking for a job. But then, I was more and more interested in what I was learning. I think that now I’m more passionate in what I’m doing on daily bases. That’s because I saw the important meaning of our work for our farmers and their families. And that we are helping them in an international level. So now I feel more confortable with my job. “

According to you, why are you the first woman to win these two important Awards?

“Sincerely I don’t’ know. Maybe it was only a coincidence. Actually I don’t think that the reason of this winning it’s related to the fact that I’m a woman. But it’s only thanks to the quality of the coffee that we took to the cupping. “


What is so special about your coffee? Rwanda isn’t really known until now, for his role as coffee producer. What has changed?

“First of all it exists a natural factor, the altitude and the climate. But, what we do from farm to dry living farm? This year we tried a new strategy of processing as Rwalf coffee team. So the tecniques that farmers do daily is some soaking. This was something which wasn’t’ really used years ago. Now we are doing that and that really change the finala result in cup. “

What about the women that usually has a specific role in the coffee chain, because they work in the farm?

“In Rwanda there are several cooperatives of women in most of Rwanda coffee stations. We’re working with them not only regarding the coffee processes, but also in activities that involves their daily lives. We support them to improve in other sectors. We also give them trainings about to develop different skills.”

Has it been difficult to gain the top of the coffee chain, becoming manager as a woman?

“I started with a job that requires a hard work. It was more difficult for a woman, because some activities in coffee especially fields activities are located in a very rural areas. And moving on the motorcicles and walking, isn’t something very easy for me. Sometimes I acted as a man. I walked with men and now we felt like a team. “

The future programs?

“We need to continue sustaining what we’re doing now, especially regarding the quality. It’s important for us to go towards people needs in cupping. Also we want to continue with the local farmers, in helping them to get more activies to improve their incomings. “

You coffee is a product that can be appreciated by an Italian customer?

“I think the taste is not familiar for an italian customer, because it’s unic in his genre. In fact, coffee in Rwanda has a different taste in cupping. It’s something new, that can be appreciated even if it doesn’t mirror exactly the traditional italian taste. “


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