Rwanda Kigeyo Washing Station
About Rwanda Kigeyo Washing Station
Arrived February 2012, new crop. The Kigeyo Washing Station and surrounding farms are in the Kivu Area of Western Rwanda, specifically in the Rutsiro District. Coffee growing elevations are very high, from 1800 to 2000 meters (5900 to 6500 feet), making it among the highest grown coffees. Varietal is classic Bourbon throughout this entire region, including neighboring countries. This is a classic, well-balanced cup with juicy profile.
In Rwanda many property smallholders engage in subsistence farming. They grow an assortment of vegetables and fruit for their own consumption, and, grow some cash crops, including coffee, to earn money. The actual quantity on some of these farms can be a little as a few trees but of course some are larger. Once harvested, the coffee must be quickly brought to a local washing station where it will be collected, usually combined with coffee from similar neighboring farms. Then it is fully processed, going through the numerous steps of depulping, fermenting, washing, drying and milling, all while at the washing station.
It is critical that coffee be at the washing station within hours of being picked so haphazard fermentation does not begin. In a country like Rwanda there are few roads and trucks are outside the reach of most subsistence farmers. Much of the coffee makes its way to the washing station on foot or, more recently, on specially designed bicycles. Washing stations are being built all over Rwanda so one is close to where coffee is grown.
Processing at the washing station consists of pulping, dry fermentation, wet fermenation, washing and soaking, all followed by drying on raised African style beds, off the ground and with good air circulation.
Cup Characteristics: Classic Rwandan wine-like profile and complex acidity shine through with plenty of citrus and sweetness to round out the cup. Sweet, juicy, wine-like, raisin.Strawberry, citrus, caramel, floral, blackberry, creamy body, complex, ripe. Sweet, soft and delicate cup. Bright and balanced acidity, savory afternotes.
Roasting Notes: Full City roast will develop the body. Roast up to but not beyond second crack.
Behmor users, try P1 (faster roast accentuates acidity) or P2 for more body.
Rwanda coffee facts:
Population (2006): 8.85 million people
Coffee Production: 510 thousand bags (60 kg)
Country bag capacity: 132 pounds - 60 kg
Domestic Consumption: Very little. Traditional tea drinkers.
Coffee Export: 510 thousand bags (60 kg)
Cultivated Area: 28,300 hectares (about 70,000 acres)
Arabica Introduced: 1904 by German missionaries.
Specialty Coffee Regions: The western and central regions.
Grades: Superior grades are A1, A2, A3 based on bean density.
Farms: many thousands of small farms (under one acre).
Botanical Varietals: Bourbon and typica.
Rwanda is a relative newcomer to specialty grade Arabica coffee production though coffee has played a major role in the economy of the country with coffee accounting for nearly 65% of export revenues. The country's bloody, genocidal civil war wrought economic and human devastation from 1990 until 2003, when international assistance and political elections brought some degree of stability to the country. Investment in the country's economy and crop production have aided in this tenuous stability.