Contributor Elizabetta Tekeste - Drink Day Wednesday, Rwanda Cup of Excellence

Our Wednesday contributor is Elizabetta Tekeste. She'll be posting every Wednesday as our Drink Day, Wednesday contributor. Elizabetta's passion for food is only surpassed by her passion for holistic eating and lifestyle. Born and raised in Bologna, the gastronomic capital of Italy, Elizabetta has been exposed to lovingly prepared, seasonal and homemade dishes since childhood. After living in Canada, Eritrea, England and now calling New York City home - she has turned her love of food and beverages into a career. In 2009 she opened a coffee shop in Brooklyn that made the New York Times list for best coffee shops in NYC after only 5 short months. Her sound knowledge in beverages also encompasses a wealth of knowledge about Italian wines. Coupled with her experience on the floor (from server to manager at some notable restaurants)- she is now moving into a new facet of her career in the culinary arts which will include creating and contributing.

First Up, Rwanda! I recently came across an article that stated that coffee from Latin America was far superior to coffee from Africa. Knowing from my own personal experience that coffee production methods had improved dramatically from the often misunderstood and misperceived continent I made it my mission to look for evidence to the contrary. Here's what I found

Rwanda held its first Cup of Excellence Competition in August 2008. The coffees are cupped by a national and international jury before the final winners are chosen. Winners are then awarded the prestigious Cup Of Excellence award and their coffee is then auctioned to the highest bidders. A clear indication that African countries are committed to producing high quality beans in the most efficient and environmentally friendly methods in order to take advantage of high prices in the market.

It's uplifting to see Rwanda's optimistic outlook on the present and future. Once a country that suffered unspeakable tragedy, now it boasts producing coffee that is on par with the coffees of Kenya and Ethiopia but distinctly Rwandan. Most of their coffee is grown on volcanic soil making it abundant in earthy, chocolate notes.

This year the awards ceremony took place on the 28th August, 2010.

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