Tasting Notes: lemon drop, cherry, silky body
Region: Lake Kivu, southwestern Rwanda
Altitude: 1,700 m.a.s.l.
Variety: red bourbon
Rwanda is known as one of the top tier speciality coffee producing origins, and this coffee from the Ruvumbu washing station is an example of the best. It is delicate, clean, and complex, with flavours of lemon and peach and a lovely sweetness. Coffee from this washing station took 3rd place overall in the 2014 Rwanda Cup of Excellence competition.
Although Rwanda is one of the smallest countries in Africa—about half the size of Scotland—it is the continent’s most densely populated mainland country. Geographically, it has steep mountains with fertile soil and a climate well-suited for growing coffee. Most of the coffee grown in Rwanda is produced by smallholder farmers who are organized into cooperatives that share the services of centralised wet mills. (Wet milling is the first stage of processing for coffee, when the pulp of the coffee cherry is removed from the bean.)
Ruvumbu wet mill is on the mountainous shores of Lake Kivu. Originally it was cooperatively run, but it has since received private investment and in 2014 a local farm owner, Justin Musabyimana, took over management. Under his leadership the volume of coffee processed has more than doubled, and the quality is some of the best in the country, meaning that the smallholder farmers who deliver cherry to the mill earn more.
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