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A New Generation of Experts in Rwanda

Coffee experts improve their coffee cupping and sensory skills in a quality evaluation training

Jessica Teta was thrilled when the National Agriculture Export Development Board (NAEB) in Rwanda hired her as a professional coffee cupper.

She got the job soon after successfully completing a training on sensory analysis and green coffee.

“During the training, we learned about processing, production and sensory analysis of coffee. We can now work in quality control with confidence and can advise and assist stakeholders from the coffee value chain in Rwanda.”

She acquired expert-level knowledge about coffee and can not only conduct sensory evaluations of coffee quality but also examine perceptions of taste.

The acquired professional expertise for identifying specialty coffee, assessing and managing quality, with the help of key concepts surrounding green coffee, are helping her stand out.

Processing, shipping, storage and delivery to the roaster – she now knows the entire coffee value-chain like the back of her hand.

Together, the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) had organized the training in 2019, through the European Union- East African Community Market Access Upgrade Programme (MARKUP).

Back then, Jessica was an intern with NAEB and she had joined the training along with other colleagues as part of an effort to strengthen the institution’s capacity on assessing and managing the quality of specialty coffee. The training provided her with the right opportunity for career-growth.

The presence of internationally certified coffee cuppers in Rwandan institutes such as NAEB, builds trust with international buyers and increases the opportunities to access international markets.

Expert assessment and cupping ensures that Rwandan coffees meet international export standards.

“This is a proof that we are good at our job and that we have the right skills and knowledge! We will not be left on the side of the global coffee market now that we have these qualifications”, Jessica says as she works to secure Rwanda’s position as a leading coffee exporter.

This story was first published on the ITC web site.