This delightful Rwandan is a top washed, specialty Arabica coffee. Rwanda is a small country in Central Africa. It lies almost on the Equator and is landlocked apart from the ports on Lake Kivu. The climate and altitude of Rwanda make it ideal for growing fine coffee. Rwandan coffee is well-known for its silky, creamy body and floral flavours.
This particular Rwandan coffee is absolutely delicious. We class it as one of the very best coffees we’ve ever had here at Real Deal Roasters. Its cup attributes are a medium good body, with a clean finish. it has a mild yet complex aroma. Look for black tea flavours in the cup. It also has a fine acidity, in fact I think it is the most “sparkly” coffee I’ve ever tasted. Of course “acidity” in coffee refers to the dry, bright sensation that a really high-quality coffee leaves on the tongue. It doesn’t mean its pH level, ever. Overall this is a gorgeous fruity jam of an African coffee. It is smooth and delicious in the cafetiere and in the espresso pot. Compare to a lovely Costa Rican Tarrazu.
Almost all regions of Rwanda produce coffee. The rich soils on the picturesque hillsides (1400 – 1900 masl) are ideal for growing coffee. Rwanda has no large estates. Instead, some 400,000 small-scale farmers and their families run the coffee industry. Most of these farmers own less than quarter of a hectare of land each. Almost all of Rwanda’s coffee is Arabica. 95% is one of several long-established Bourbon varieties. This Rwandan coffee is a mixture of Bourbon and Mibirizi coffee variants. Mibirizi itself s actually a natural variant of Bourbon Arabica coffee.
Brief History of Coffee in Rwanda
Rwanda´s history as a coffee producing country began in 1904. This was when German colonists introduced Bourbon coffee plants from Guatemala to the country. Later, under Belgian rule, Rwanda specialised in low-grade, high-volume coffees. After independence in 1962 coffee became Rwanda’s most valuable export. However the genocidal civil wars of the 1990s almost destroyed the industry. Afterwards, as Rwanda struggled back to its feet, investment poured into the coffee sector. There was a drive towards producing higher grade coffee. As part of this, from 2004 onwards, many new coffee washing stations were built. Today there are over 300 throughout the country. These help the small coffee farmers (who own an average of just 183 trees each) to process the high quality coffees we see from Rwanda today. As a result specialty coffee is today one of Rwanda’s most important export crops.
The Women’s Washing Station
We call this Rwandan Women’s Washing Station coffee for a good reason. This particular washing station is run and managed by local women. The aim of the station is to engage every woman working in the local coffee sector. In this way they hope to improve their lives and well-being. A key part of the project is to promote socio-economic projects. For example, more training, medical insurance, cows and educational scholarships. Finding better prices for their coffee is another key goal..