After rounds of blind tastings by an international independent jury of top culinary and coffee experts, illycaffè, the global leader in high-quality, sustainably grown coffee, announced that coffee beans grown by Rwanda’s Ngororero Coffee Washing Station, represented by Ms. Philotée Mukiza, were designated “Best of the Best” in the third annual 2018 Ernesto Illy International Coffee Award.
The award winner was chosen from among the world’s top lots from the 2017/2018 harvests in nine countries, whose growers attended a gala at the Rainbow Room last night.

A separate “Coffee Lover’s Choice” award, presented by United Airlines, was also conferred to Ms. Mukiza on behalf of Ngororero Coffee Washing Station.

Alongside Rwanda, coffee beans from Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Guatemala, India and Nicaragua were chosen to compete as finalists, following intensive analysis at illy’s Quality Lab at its Trieste, Italy headquarters. All nine finalists, spanning four continents, are ingredients in the legendary illy blend, celebrated for decades for its unparalleled richness, complexity and consistency.


1st place: Mr Raimundo Dimas Santana, Fazenda Santo Antonio

A full bodied coffee with an intense flavor. Its distinctive sweetness and bold chocolate notes are enhanced by hints of caramel and nutty.

2nd place: Fazenda Moendas
3rd place: Fazenda Sao Pedro De Alcantara


1st place: Federacion Campesina del Cauca

A medium to full-bodied coffee with a rich flavor. Surprising notes of caramel and fresh fruit burst forth, with delicate whispers of chocolate.

2nd place: Cooperativa Norte de Narino
3rd place: Cooperativa de Caficultores del Cauca

Costa Rica

1st place: Coopeatenas

A full-bodied coffee with an enduring flavor. Its distinctively bold brown sugar and chocolate notes are enhanced by delicate hints of honey, vanilla, nutty and oranges.

2nd place: Coopesabalito
3rd place:


El Salvador

1st place: J. J. Borja Nathan

Velvety taste and soft body, smooth finish. Strong chocolate and nutty notes, slight taste of honey and medium caramel

2nd place: Inverfinca
3rd place: Exportadora Agricola San Agustin


1st place: Mullege PLC

A medium bodied coffee with a delicate flavor. Its unique floral jasmine notes are mixed with a slight hint of citrus fruit, caramel and honey.

2nd place: Asma International Trading
3rd place: Legesse Sherefa


1st place: Mr Luis Fernando Pivaral Aguilar, Finca Sabanetas

A medium bodied coffee with a complex flavor. Its characteristically bold sweetness is coupled with chocolate, caramel, honey and citrus notes.

2nd place: El Aceituno
3rd place: Plantaciones San Pablo



1st place: Mr Sharan Yamasandhi Krishna, Dhodda salawara Estate

A full-bodied coffee with a bold flavor. Intense cocoa and caramel, notes of nutty leave a seductively sweet chocolate aftertaste.

2nd place: Archullie Estate
3rd place: Tata Coffee



1st place: Proyecto Lift

A medium to full-bodied coffee with a balanced flavor. Strong caramel notes and chocolate are mixed with a slight toasted bread, nutty and honey aftertaste.

2nd place: Damsco
3rd place: Cafetalera San Josè


1st place, "Best of the Best" & "Coffee Lover's Choice": Ngororero Coffee Washing Station

A medium to full-bodied coffee with a balanced flavor. Caramel and fresh fruit notes are mixed with a slight chocolate aftertaste.

2nd place: Rwinyoni Coffee Washing Station
3rd place: Mashesha Coffee Washing Station