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About the coffee:
Cupping notes: blackberry, black currant, dried orange peel, holiday spice, black tea, caramel, elegant acidity, tea-like body, good complexity
Cultivation: Grown at high elevation in volcanic soil, Karongi District, western Rwanda
Climate: Temperate, two rainy seasons (short and long), temperatures fluctuate between 40 in winter to 85 in summer, ideal for coffee production
Tree type:Bourbon, Jackson
Altitude: 5,300-6,000 feet
Preparation: Fully washed processing, sun dried on raised beds
About the people who grow it: After a savage civil war that devastated the country in 1994, the flourishing coffee sector is today playing a crucial role in helping to rebuild the country. The speed at which Rwanda has been able to turn itself around as a coffee origin is remarkable. In the not-too-distant past, its coffee was sold at the minimum C-grade price and Rwanda was virtually unknown on the specialty coffee market. Today, the country provides some of the most highly prized coffees in East Africa, and has transformed itself into a sought after origin.
In 2000, a new Rwandan government, seeking to rebuild the shattered economy, focused on reviving its dormant coffee sector. They had a long way to go. At that time, the country produced no specialty coffee and had only two washing stations. Nevertheless, the government made it a national priority, and with help from USAID and foreign investment – as well as advisers from other African nations – coffee quality began to improve at a remarkable pace. Today, the results of these efforts are clear; the world has discovered what Rwandan coffee has to offer, and its coffee producers are benefiting as a result.
Today, the vast majority of producers are small holders and plot sizes average only 0.5 hectares with 150 to 300 trees that farmers grow alongside subsistence crops like corn, beans and bananas. In the cup, Rwanda coffees are known for an elegant blackcurrant acidity, with hints of syrupy citrus, sweet spice, and gingerbread.
The Kopakaki group has been producing coffee since 2007. The average number of trees per farmer is around 380 on an average of 0.15 hectares. Coffee is delivered to the washing station by those farmers within walking distance and the cooperative can also send out a hired car to assist with collection when farmers need it. After arriving at the washing station, the coffee is pulped and dry-fermented for 2 days, then rinsed and soaked for another 24 hours. Wet parchment is hand-picked on covered raised beds before being moved to the drying beds.
Printable flyers: Roasting this coffee to give or sell to others? Click here to download and print color flyers to tell this story of the coffee's origin, and help them feel good about the great coffee they are drinking.