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Rwanda Cup of Excellence 2008

I was very excited to be on the jury for the first-ever Rwanda Cup of Excellence coffee competition in late August 2008. In fact, it is the first Cup of Excellence in Africa, and I hope the message about quality and price comes through loud and clear. In the promotion of great coffee, CoE is unparalleled. But recent auctions have had extremely high bids on the top lots, and erratic bidding. I worry this sets up the farmers and mills with unrealistic expecations about the relationship between quality coffee and great prices. We all want the high prices to be a message to the farmers, and a model to increase cup quality and better the lives of farmers. I hope it all works out, and if there was country that could pull it off, it would be Rwanda. There are so many good minds here, so many initiatives to improve lives and seek out an economic forumla that works in a land traumatized by genocide, where the land is overused, and there's just not enough of it. I am betting the CoE will help, and that this competition will continue sucessfully in Rwanda for the future. -Tom

PS: There's just too many great photos and not enough time to caption them all. With our without descriptions, I wanted to share them anyway.

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Jasper from The Coffee Company in Netherlands took a couple pictures of me proving in fact I was actually there (don't get many pictures of myself, not that it's a bad thing)... well, he's a helluva photographer and took a couple thousands pictures. Here are his flickr photos: http://flickr.com/photos/jasperamsterdam/


The Sweet Maria's Soccer Ball Giveaway! I could only fit 8 of them in my luggage but they went to great homes! The boys were miffed, because in this case I handed it to a girl - yep, that's a girl holding the ball!

Cupper with too much hair. A week later I had it cut, er, butchered, in Harar Ethiopia. Getting haircuts on trips is amusing, and a surprise for Maria when I return. But this one ... which costs $1.50, was no fun. See the Harar Trip Report for all that sorta fun.

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