We are excited that we got our hands on a very special lot from Rwanda. This small East African country might not produce as much coffee as its neighbours Ethiopia or Kenya but it certainly is world class. For all coffee lovers who enjoy trying new flavours, you should definitely try this juicy, full-bodied bourbon.
Standing the test in quality and intriguing flavours on our cupping table alongside some of the best South American coffees, Mushonyi is a washed coffee that draws its excellence from the favourable climate and high growing altitudes.
What you’ll taste are clean bright flavors, fruity sweetness, pronounced floral characteristics and a tea-like finish.
Coffee isn’t native to Rwanda but was introduced by German and Belgian missionaries at the beginning of the 20th century. It quickly became one of the main export commodities that support rural families to this day.
Rwanda’s history is pierced by extreme violence and poverty. During the Genocide of 1994, more than 800,000 people, mostly minority Tutsi, were slaughtered over the course of 100 days by Rwanda’s Hutu majority.
In the wake of the tragedy, organizations such as Partnership for Enhancing Agriculture in Rwanda through Linkages (PEARL) and Sustainable Partnerships to Enhance Rural Enterprises and Agricultural Development (SPREAD) were launched.
Their focus is to revitalise Rwanda’s agriculture and support the country’s most valuable crop – coffee. They invest in infrastructure and offer trainings for producers.Measuring the size of farms in trees, not acres
Countless small coffee farms are perched at high altitudes between 1,700 and 2,000 metres above sea level.
More than 400,000 of these family farms producing some of the country’s best coffee are so small in size (often not even 1 hectare) that they are measured by the number of trees instead. The average number is 165 trees per farmer!
Rwanda exports more than 80 percent of its coffee and only about 16% is consumed domestically.
Coffee crop used to be heavily regulated by the government and aimed solely for export so there was no effort to promote drinking it at home. Most of the growers don’t drink coffee at all – it’s too expensive. A cup comes up to 1,500 francs ($1.70), while Nescafe costs only 200 ($0.20) and tea about 100 francs ($0.10).Mushonyi washing station
The station collects cherry from 1,213 registered growers from the surrounding hills (at altitudes ranging from 1,600m up to 1,950m).
When cherries are delivered, the staff removes any lower quality cherries through flotation and visual inspection. Sorting tables were installed and trained staff with a keen eye carry out the inspection to ensure the best quality. The team recently constructed a cherry sorting shed with 30 m2 of raised table space for additional cherry sorting.The cherries then pass through the depulper and mucilage removal machine. Mushonyi is equipped with a state of the art Pinhalense eco-pulper. The machine integrates the flotation process and mechanical mucilage removal. All parts of the process require attention to detail to ensure the highest quality.