This feature was originally published on June 24, 2012.
Specialty coffee is a woven tapestry of individuals, from roasters to baristas, producers to farmers. All week long we’ll be profiling personalities who work in the Rwandan specialty coffee industry. All from Rwanda coverage made possible by Fair Trade USA.
Cupping with to Laetitia Mukandahiro is a bit like taking batting practice next to Joey Votto. She is a capital P Professional, and represents a unique facet of the Rwandan specialty coffee industry: the 20-something female cupping expert, prized for their palates and dedication. Her career path speaks to the enormous promise of Rwandan coffee, both in the cups we enjoy in the West and in the lives of the individuals here in Rwanda who make those cups possible.
Ms. Mukandahiro was born in the village of Musasa, which is located near the noted Dukendekawa washing station. She started out as a hand picker at that washing station, but soon received training as a cupper; her keen palate distinguished her from her peers, and soon after she was hired by Gilbert Gatali, then head of the Rwanda Smallholder Specialty Coffee Company (RWASHOSCCO). She’s since gone on to serve on multiple COE ...