This month we will bring you to the Land of the “Thousand Hills”, aka Rwanda. This tiny Central African country became well know in the mid-90’s for the genocide which killed 800.000 living a society deeply wounded and divided between survivors and perpetrators.
Coffee was to become a symbol of positivity as Rwanda got back on its feet after the genocide. Foreign aid and interested streamed into the country as Western world tried to relieve its conscience for not being able to prevent or even stop the horror of the genocide. The recovery was focused on the coffee sector, seen by both government and donors as a key sector to restore local economy and reconcile torn communities. Thanks to the far-sightedness of the Rwandan government, coffee was used as a tool of reconciliation to pave the way for a peaceful society in post-genocide Rwanda.
As James Hoffmann wrote in The World Atlas of Coffee, ‘the government took a more opened approach to the coffee trade, and specialty coffee buyers from around the world have shown a strong interest in the country’s coffees. Rwanda is the only African country to have hosted a Cup of Excellence competition (CoE), a project to find the very best lots and to bring them to market through an online auction system’ (J.Hoffmann, The World Atlas of Coffee, Mitchell Beazley, London, 2014.p.142).
The two coffees of this month, Rushashi
have been brought to Europe by our friends and supplier This Side Up.
When we tried them last year, we immediately fell in love with these complex and intriguing coffees. This year we received the new crop and we experienced even further improvements in both the cup profile and the traceability of the project started by This Side Up few years ago in the Gakenke District, Northern Province.
Coffees from Rwanda generally display a fruitiness and freshness reminiscent of citrus fruits. High-altitude of the Rwandan steeplands make the country the perfect place to grown high quality arabica. Coffee is grown across the whole country without specific geographic zones of constriction.
When it comes to traceability , likewise other African countries coffee in Rwanda is traceable back to the washing station and the co-ops that supply them. Roasters may use the name of a district along with the name of the washing station or farmer group. Local varieties are mainly Mibirizi and Jackson, both are natural mutation of Bourbon (introduced from Guatemala). (ibid. p.144-45)
We will ship Rwandan coffees throughout the month of July, do not miss the opportunity to discover the flavours of this beautiful origin.
All best from the NCR Crew.