The time for Rwanda has arrived!
Season has come to an end, the last cherries left the drying tables a while ago and we made our buying decisions. Our friends in Rwanda are now hard at work to get the lots we chose onto containers with some of them on the ocean already and on their way to our UK warehouse. And as they are slowly starting to prepare to get things ready for next years’ season, for you roasters it has only just started.
And what a great season it was. We’ve again seen the consistency this origin brings us with complex, clean and jammy coffees and at the same time the hard work that has increased efficiency and further reduced the amount of potato defect, which was already at a low level from the work of previous years.
As always, wrapping up the last things for Rwanda had it’s difficulties. Making sure there are not too many delays with shipping. But what’s a coffee without a little trouble? You’ll be tasting that effort in the end cup for sure.
End of October – This first half of the Rwanda arrivals will mainly focus on fully washed coffees and PBs.
Mid November – With the 2nd half dedicated to some first-time natural/honey projects, we will go more into depth on the natural processing project when the time comes and the boat has left the port.
If you’re looking for an origin where you as a roaster can make a difference and have impact that will be very directly noticed by the producers, these are the projects to keep your eye on or start already incorporating into your inventory for this year and travel with me to Rwanda next season and see how they are improving.
As every year we have our main projects which I’m sure a lot of you will by now recognize:
By Justin Musabyiama, owner of the washing station
In short Mahembe is unique in many ways, Justin has always stood out for us in his commitment to improving the processing of his coffees that we full heartedly believe to be among the best in Rwanda.
Never are you able to see the full potential at the start of his coffees as they are closed (very good, but closed) yet time and time again we are surprised how they open up.. and open up they surely will. Sometimes months after harvest like good Ethiopians, gaining complexity and brightness.
And looking back at the years we worked here, this season won’t be an exception.
Generally very elegant, refined coffees. Lots of complexity, balanced yet unique and distinctive. Usually a battle with some lots clearly defined by it’s juicy ripe berry and dried fruit notes and on the other hand lots that are Ethiopian like – with more tea & floral characteristics. See the Mahembe lots.
By Alexis Gahizi and his son Aime, owners of the washing station
A family run business founded by the respected and experienced Alexis with his son Aime from the younger generation being the real star pushing Gitesi to the next level.
Aime, a friendly welcoming man and such a good guy to work with, innovative not only in his processing but also in the ways he finds to help out his community.
Inspiring to see and it definitely gave us the determined will to get these coffees out to the people.
His innovative work comes back and shows us it’s all worth it in the very unique cup profiles with incredible depth.
Rwandans with a punch. Always exciting – ranging anywhere from very hoppy & perfumey cups to spices or crazy clear lemongrass, mango, peach & cherry notes.
Tea-like characters or the complete opposite, winey and jammy:
Bwenge & PBs – value coffees
New this year will be our Bwenge selection and combined with the PB lots it’s a great value selection.“Bwenge” means Knowledge in Kinyarwanda.
This lot is a combined effort and blend of cherries that 30 smallholder farmers brought into Remera, Nyarusiza, Umurage and Ubumwe – all the 4 washing stations owned by BUF which is one of the main projects we work with in Rwanda and is lead by Sam Muhirwa.
It is processed at the Ubumwe drymill, a very new drymill founded in 2016 and located in Kamonyi, the southern province of Rwanda.
We made this Bwenge Selection to offer a good cupping coffee for a great price. Mainly used in espresso/blends or as a solid batch brew.
Our PB selection can be divided into 2 categories:
1) Many great coffees are going to “waste” in the milling process.
Meaning when the producer is milling our “micro” lots by screen size 15 and up for our regular export, the screens 14 and 15 and the peaberries are sold at a really low price as undergrades.
Not because they are bad coffees, but because there is traditionally no one that’s buying these screen sizes as specialty. Even if they taste great.
So with this lot we are saving the PB takeouts from our regular lots and mixing them together to buy them at a lower premium. Resulting in a very complex yet affordable lot.
2) Our main focus in Rwanda is on the south and western provinces.
And 80% of our coffees are coming from 4 main producers we have a close relationship with.
Sometimes though there’s just this PB lot that stands out on terms of cupprofile and price.
Which gives us a chance to showcase a range of lots all over Rwanda and this Ibisi lot from Huye made that selection on the table.
A great PB that stood out because of its dense fruit and chamomile/hoppy depth.
In general our Rwandan PBs are clearly marked for their dense fruit notes. Juicy ripe plums and berries. Some with parfumy florals and others with sweet herbal notes giving it extra depth.
Check our offers here – https://nordicapproach.no/rwanda/ (scroll to the bottom for the list) And be sure to get your hands on some lots before they are sold out. Have a great day and let your sales rep know if you have any questions at all.