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The Law of Averages

1 April 2012 No Comment

Reviewing the New EAFCA Taste of Harvest Strategy and what it means for the “Way Above Average” or “Excellent” Coffee


From the Print Issue

The Scene: An Upcountry Secondary School in Uganda

The Speaker: A New Headmaster with a peculiar love for green suits and a knack for telling stories

The Audience: A nervous wreck of young boys and girls with Final Exams due in three weeks.

Subject: The Law of Averages

His Speech (Paraphrased):

“In life, you can choose to excel or you can choose to settle (be average). Average attendance and reading in class means average grades. Average grades mean you can get an average school.”

Not so bad… yet.

“Average schools, means you meet average peers, go to average universities and it is doubtful if you weren’t an average sports man, musician or artist. This means you will most likely get an average job.

Later, you may get an average girlfriend or boyfriend who may become the average wife or husband and simple math tells us that with the product of two averages… well, most probably will be average kids.”

The Effect of the Speech: A 90% pass rate in the national exams for the Schools A-level Class of 1999.

The Revamped Africa Taste of Harvest Competition 

In 2010, the Eastern Africa Fine Coffees Association reviewed its 5 year Regional Strategy with particular focus on the African Taste of Harvest Competitions. The competition that seeks to find the “Excellent” coffees and their producers has come a long way in marketing fine coffees from the Region and securing a premium price.

The Taste of Harvest (ToH) program is the only annual cupping training and competition held in Eastern and Southern Africa and has become the premier event in nine member countries, and plans to begin in the newest member, Democratic Republic of Congo.

Its purpose is to identify the “best of the best” or the “Excellent” in a competition among the fine coffees in Eastern Africa. Currently, EAFCA holds an annual country-specific, National Taste of Harvest competition to determine the best domestic coffee samples within each country to submit to regional and international marketing events and the Trading Floor event held annually at the African Fine Coffee Conference and Exhibition.

A mandatory judge’s calibration of the best cuppers is held one day before the TOH. This also serves as a refresher training for them as they prepare to judge the TOH coffee samples to ensure that we have the best judges for the TOH event.

Each sample sent in must be representative of an exportable lot that is a minimum of 10 bags maximum 1 container. The sample size requested is 5kg of clean specialty grade coffee in green form.

The ToH competition uses the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) internationally recognized cupping form to evaluate the coffees, unless otherwise indicated. The ten characteristics evaluated are namely; Fragrance / Aroma, Flavor, Aftertaste, Acidity, Body, Uniformity, Balance, Clean cup, Sweetness, and Overall cupper score.

The 5 coffees with the highest score from each country are highlighted at the annual EAFCA African Fine Coffee Conference & Exhibition (AFCCE) cupping pavilion, and offered for tasting to all conference and exhibition attendees throughout the conference period. A special coffee cupping activity is conducted specifically for buyers that are attending the EAFCA conference with the intent for the buyers to taste and evaluate these TOH winners from each country.

Unique Opportunity

Producers have a unique opportunity with this Competition. In scoring over 80 points they get to significantly highlight themselves as fine coffee producers strengthening their chapter or company brand and more importantly fetch premium prices for their coffees.

The buyers on the other hand are granted full access to some of the regions top notch coffees season after season.

“Excellent coffee”, means “excellent prices” for everyone in the value chain which is what the Taste of Harvest Competition hopes to achieve because in the end, nobody wants to just settle for the “average bean.”


In this blog, our correspondents report on the developments within the Local Coffee Markets and Trade Floors. This blog takes its name, Sokoni, from its local Swahili meaning; In the Markets.


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