Paul Thornton descriptive cupping in Rwanda

The internet connections in Rwanda are really good, but the ability to use them is not. It’s great for anything like checking e-mail or opening a simple web site, but not for, say, something like opening a file.

I’m here with Tim Schilling who is working with SPREAD out of Rwanda. We are continuing the Descriptive Cupping process which started last year. Panelists have met three times now, many of them the same people, once in Chicago and twice in Rwanda with the cuppers at the coffee lab. Both locations in Rwanda have been just a few clicks outside of Butare, a little town sort of West of Kigali, at the coffee lab. Also here from the US, is Paul Songer who defined the steps to take to reach the goal and who has been doing a superb job of keeping the cuppers in line, along with Noah Westby and Christy Thorns. This panel also included some pretty damn good Rwandan cuppers who have been working with this project for some time and have a keen awareness of what they are tasting.

So, the purpose of this project is to see if the growing regions in Rwanda have distinct flavor profiles that are not typically found anywhere else. For instance, does one have more almond, citrus, chocolates, and a lighter body as their primary characters, while another has walnut, black current, berry, and a lingering heavier body? Data such as soil, rain fall, etc. has been captured from each region, which after studying, may lead to helping define what region a buyer might want to buy from based on their preferences, and so on.


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