Great results for our coops at Cup of Excellence 2018

Posted by Mattia Guglielmi on 14 August 2018

Being at this years' Cup of Excellence award ceremony in Rwanda and seeing three of the cooperatives we work with among the winners has been a great pleasure for me. Despite the presence of high level authorities - the Rwandan Minister of Agriculture and different ambassadors were present; the event was very much farmer oriented as they cheered for each other’s accomplishments and actively participated on the day.

Cup of Excellence is the most prestigious competition and award for high quality coffees. The level of scrutiny that Cup of Excellence coffees undergo is unmatched anywhere in the specialty coffee industry. Each year, thousands of coffees are submitted for consideration, with winning coffees sold in global online auctions at premium prices, with the vast majority of auction proceeds going to the farmers.

The competition is rigorous, with cupping evaluations conducted over a three-week process by industry experts: first by a national panel of about a dozen qualified jurors from the origin country, and then by an international Jury comprised of approximately 20-25 experienced jurors from around the world.

Everyone at Twin feels extremely proud of the outstanding results achieved by the cooperatives we work with in Rwanda and Burundi. These achievements are a testimony of the producers’ hard work throughout the value chain and the effectiveness of the support they receive from us in partnership with TradeMark East Africa - TMEA


Kigali – 10th Aug 2018

Rwanda’s top-quality coffees were awarded on Friday at the lively Cup of Excellence ceremony, as Rwanda celebrates 10 years of recognizing coffee farmers.

Twenty-eight (28) out of 374 coffee lots that had registered for the competition were announced winners of the Cup of Excellence Award 2018 after exceeding 86.62 marks.

Rwanda Cup of Excellence kicked off with a preselection stage of 374 registered lots provided by Farmer cooperatives from around the country. Coffees were cupped by an experienced group of national and international cuppers as well as observers and potential buyers of Rwandan best coffee. The competition was narrowed to the winners as it follows,

CoE 2018 winners cupping chart

150 out of 374 samples that entered the competition were preselected with a cupping score of 86 marks and continued to the national jury phase where only 40 coffees were selected to be cupped at the International stage. Out of the 28 winners at the international stage, three (3) coffees from our Twin/TMEA project were awarded and recognized as some of the best;

Twin winner coops

Winning coffees were strictly chosen by a selected group of national and international coffee professionals and are cupped at least five times during the competition process.

At the ceremony Mr. Frederic Hakizimana, General Manager of Kopakama Cooperative gave a speech in representation of all farmers. Along his remarks, Mr Hakizimana recognised TWIN in partnership with TMEA as major farmers’ partners that support cooperatives to access high speciality markets.

The top three lots achieving beyond 90 marks, were named 'Presidential Award Winners’. These are: Twumba coffee, from Karongi District, Western Province (90.53); Mayogi Cooperative from Gicumbi, Northern Province (90.06) and Murundo Coffee Washing Station from Nyamasheke, Western Province (90.03).

The best coffees will be auctioned after the award ceremony and they will be secured by the highest bidders. For instance, the first winner coffee lot at the previous competition was sold at 84USD per Kg (approx. 2.60USD per Kg -  average 2017). The top best coffees for this year will be auctioned next month.

Twin Kigali played a crucial role in supporting the competition by coordinating  activities, preparing samples and organising cupping sessions following ACE - - protocols and procedures of sample preparation for the Cup of Excellence. We have coordinated all samples’ preparation activities from 374 participants in the pre-selection stage through the 28 chosen at the International phase and up to the top ten.  Besides this, Twin has been contributing to the results through the work done on quality improvement during the last 2 years.

We also took this opportunity to approach the international Jury from roasting companies and introduce them to Twin’s work in the region, they showed their interest and willingness to receive samples from Twin.

Jury and support team Rwanda CoE 2018

Jury and support team Rwanda CoE 2018 2

Our Commercial and Logistics Manager, Eric Rukwaya with some of the International Jury members and the supporting team.

Kopakama CoE Rwanda2018

Kopakama proud to receive their winning certificate!  In this photo: Frederic Gervais (Kopakama), Olivier Gashema and Kevin Nkunzimana (Misozi Coffee), Dr. Celestin Gatarayiha (Head of Coffee Division at NAEB), Eric Rukwaya and Mattia Guglielmi (Twin)  


The Cup of Excellence also took place in Burundi two weeks ago when 331 coffee samples were submitted from all over Burundi, narrowing down to 29 winners from five different provinces to be judged on 2nd August in Bujumbura.

Like in Rwanda, the selection was scrutinized by a national panel and an international jury at a later stage.  Judges came from US, South Korea, UK, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Norway, Russia and Australia. Amongst 29 winners, the Cooperative YAGIKAWA - supported by Twin in partnership with TMEA – were able to place one lot on the 21st position scoring 88.11 and another one on the 11th position with a score of 88.61.

Head Judge, John Thompson said that the coffees of Burundi remain often undiscovered gems for many coffee companies. Very high altitudes, cool climates and exclusively bourbon variety are constant across the country and mean that this year’s selection of winning coffees show the impact of terroir and washed processing on cup profile.