On a gagné (We won!)
Last evening I received a joyous email from Emmanuel Rwakagara the General Manager at COOPAC cooperative in Gisenyi, Rwanda. Emmanuel forwarded me an email from his Managing Director stating the results of a cupping competition that they recently won. The competition was put on by East African Fine Coffee Association (EAFCA). EAFCA is similar to the Specialty Coffee Association of America, but based in East Africa. Each year, EAFCA holds a cupping competition to award the best coffees from the region.TransFair USA and Global Producer Services. (GPS was created within TransFair USA as a hands-on approach to carrying out the mission of TransFair USA; empowering farmers to lift themselves out of poverty.) Over the course of the past few years, GPS has worked very closely with COOPAC to design, construct, and finance a cupping laboratory at their headquarters in Gisenyi. GPS and COOPAC worked together to jointly fund the cupping laboratory in a unique financing model that used grant money, premium, and leveraged outside development funds to complete the construction. In January 2009, the construction was completed and these lots of coffee that were entered into the competition are the first to be sampled, tasted, and provided feedback to farmers from this new cupping laboratory. This is a huge success for COOPAC as they will receive positive market feedback for winning a competition like this. Below you will find a translated version of the email I received, along with a few images of the cupping laboratory and COOPAC members receiving cupping trainings.