REGION: Karongi District, Lake Kivu
ALTITUDE: 1,790 – 1,900 m
VARIEITIES: Bourbon, Kent
PROCESSING: African bed drying
Q-GRADE: 85 Points
CUP: Medium Acidity, creamy body
FLAVOR: Hints of lemon, strong fruit and berry flavor
Certifications: Rain Forest Alliance Certified
Coffee in Rwanda didn’t always hold the reputation for excellence it now retains in the coffee world. Coffee production was sluggish to begin with and only picked up several decades later after German missionaries introduced it in the early 20th century. The country focused on quantity rather than quality but made huge leaps in distinction at the turn of the millennium with the aid of a national coffee strategy.
This strategy reinvigorated the coffee industry and its main emphasis was to invest in infrastructure for community washing stations, where small farmers could process their coffee locally for export. Over time, coffee cultivation sprouted up throughout the country and farmers focused on bourbon varieties, which took well to local conditions.
The bulk of the coffee is grown by small farmers and the best varieties come from the Western Province, near Lake Kivu. And despite conflict, instability and infrastructural challenges, specialty coffee has grown from 0% to 50% of all coffee exports in just over twenty years.
Rwanda Muguba Isimbi
This coffee is indeed a pearl, like its namesake Isimbi. Even its setting, grown around the beautiful Lake Kivu, looks straight out of a painting. This coffee is cultivated specifically in the Rubyiro village of the Mubuga sector whose rich soil and fertile environment create ideal conditions for bourbon coffee varieties to flourish. Over 200 small farmers supply this specific coffee and boast that it is among the finest in the world.
The coffee itself has aromas of lemon and orange, with a slight cherry, lime and fruit finishes. It has a silky and creamy body, with buttery and cocoa overtones. It serves great as a single origin espresso at darker roasts which accentuates its body, while medium to lighter roasts will retain its acidity and fruity profiles. It holds a Rainforest Alliance Certification and we look forward to enjoying future crops, as Rwanda coffee seems to get better and better.