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Rwanda Cup of Excellence Jury 2012

Last month I was lucky enough to be invited to be on the international jury for Rwanda's fifth Cup of Excellence competition. It is a great representing Australia but also to be the first ever cupper selected from Queensland for any COE event, was a real  honour. After trying some beautiful Rwanda red bourbons over the last couple of years(all of Rwanda's coffees are of the red bourbon variety) and hearing of the massive changes that have occurred in the country after the horrible genocide in 1994, I was very keen to attend. 160 coffees were entered from 120 of the 200 washing stations that are spread across Rwanda. in most COE competitions, coffees are entered from mainly single estates or farms. In Rwanda there is no large estates or farms with the biggest coffee growing farm only six hectares in area. All local coffee growers or 'small holders' sell their cherry to the  washing station nearest to them. The washing stations pulp the cherry and ferment then dry on raised beds. The washing stations enter the competition and enter particular day lots that they think have been well grown and that they have processed well. Most of the lots entered contain coffee from one up to twenty farms.
Each COE competition has a national jury that cups and scores all coffees twice and narrows all entrants down to the top 60. The international jury then cups all of the top 60 and scores out of 100. Any coffee that scores over 85 or more, gains COE certification and goes into the international online auction. High prices are paid for these coffees. With the washing stations splitting the money evenly between the farmers that coffee made up the entered lots. I arrived on the 28th. The international jury week began on the 29th.

Day 1

Arrived in the capital Kigali very early in the morning. Myself and a couple of of other jury members were taken to the Stipp hotel to relax until the other members arrived. We then Drove to Kayazonga town  in eastern Provence  for cocktail party. We were entertained by local dancers and served warm beer which to my disappointment is the norm and there were no cocktails. Afterwards we  arrived at the Dereva Hotel for the night. No hot water or Internet but a clean bed.
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Cheers Brendan.
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