May 18, 2015 - Kigali, Rwanda
Then we went on to the cupping room where Arsene, Valence and their 4 interns showed us sample roasting and cupping -- including potato taste! Which, thankfully, has been much more rare in this year's coffee. We have seen evidence of improved quality controls to make sure this defect is hard to find in Rwandan coffee.
Day 1 of our program started with -- of course -- Starbucks! But this was not your frothy carmel latte Starbucks Cafe. The Starbucks Farmer Support Center is more like a "Hard Rock Cafe" -- it's high quality, it's down-to-earth (literally, since they help farmers with soil analysis among other things) and so much more interesting than a cappucino (in my mind).
First we were introduced to four of the five full-time staff of the center (1 was missing) and then the agronomist, Aphrodis, gave a great introduction to the history of Farmer Support Centers. He also gave us a lively demonstration of some of the best practice lectures he gives farmers. He emphasized that they are always trying to teach farmers ways to reduce their cost of production and improve quality at the same time. (and no, he was not even talking about lean yet!)