KIGALI, Rwanda — Ngororero Coffee Washing Station has won two prizes during Ernesto Illy International Coffee Award, Illycaffè, the global leader in high-quality, sustainably grown coffee, has announced after rounds of blind tastings by an international independent jury of top culinary and coffee experts.
The Rwandan coffee was declared the ‘Best of the Best’ in the 2018 Ernesto Illy International Coffee Award (EIICA) on October 05th 2018.
The independent jury had taken on the task of choosing this year’s “Best of the Best” bean, based on criteria including aromatic richness/complexity, balance/elegance and aroma intensity/strength.
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 in New York.
A separate “Coffee Lover’s Choice” award, presented by United Airlines, was also conferred to Ngororero Coffee Washing Station.
Apart from Rwanda, other eight finalists were Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Guatemala, India and Nicaragua. They competed following intensive analysis at illy’s Quality Lab at its Trieste, Italy headquarters.
All nine finalists, spanning four continents, are ingredients in the legendary illy blend, celebrated for decades for their unparalleled richness, complexity and consistency.
“It is an honor and a pleasure to recognize Ngororero Coffee Washing Station for their achievement, and that of all of our finalists, who are focused on producing the highest-quality coffee through sustainable methods,” said Andrea Illy, Chairman of illycaffè.
Philotée Mukiza, from RWACOF, says that it is her pride to manage one of more than 300 coffee washing stations in Rwanda under the leadership of RWACOF, a coffee processing and exporting company.
“Quality starts in the mind of the farmer, but working with RWACOF team and Illy has reinforced my view that everyone in the supply chain plays a role in safeguarding and improving quality.”
“Today, half of my time at RWACOF is spent ensuring that coffee is processed at the right time in the right way to meet clients’ needs. The other half is spent on managing our traceability. Each year we execute almost 500,000 transactions with our suppliers (smallholder farmers), I oversee our systems to track the origin of what we buy and where it is at any given time.” Ms. Mukiza added.
“Events like this one and the Cup of Excellence will hopefully generate more demand, more sales and ultimately better prices and margins. In my brief experience at RWACOF, I have realised that our key role, is to try to identify and realise potential and I think Ngororero is a great example of us taking a big step forward. By improving our processing capacity and finding new clients, we have been able to pay our farmer suppliers a higher premium year on year which I think we can be very proud of.” Said Max Veglio, the Managing Director at RWACOF.