It is often said that the Rwandan coffees are some of the most delicately balanced, sweetest, and floral of all the East African coffees – delicately balanced and quickly winning over coffee lovers all over the world.
The first coffee trees were planted in Rwanda in 1904, and the country’s first exports began in 1917. Because of the high altitudes and consistent rainfall, the potential for quality is extremely high. The coffee industry now accounts for approximately half of the country’s export revenue, and as a result, coffee has recently emerged as a tool for the government to alleviate socio-economic conditions. There has been an explosion in the number of washing stations built throughout the country, allowing the 500,000 smallholdings in the country to have easier access to resources and training opportunities. For Rwandan coffee producers, one of the most difficult challenges is the “potato” defect, which is caused by a bacterium that can cause the occasional bean to smell and taste like raw potato. Although Rwandan beans are no longer the best on the market, the dominance of old Bourbon trees, combined with the high altitudes and rich soil, ensure that they remain among the best available.
KEY FACTS ABOUT RWANDA RWANDAN COFFEE
Percentage of the world market 0.16 percent Harvest Arabica from March to August; Robusta from May to August Processing MAIN TYPES: some washed, some natural Arabica Bourbon, Caturra, and Catuai constitute 99 percent of the crop, with 1 percent Robusta.
As a producer, you are ranked 29th in the world.
The citrus, stone fruit, and caramel tones present in the coffees from the southern region of the Northern Province help to balance and sweeten these coffees.
WESTERN PROVINCE – Where a number of the most renowned washing stations in Rwanda are located along the shores of Lake Kivu, and they are known for consistently producing complex, floral, elegant, and juicy coffees of the highest quality.
SOUTHERN PROVINCE – Because of the higher elevations, the coffee produced in Rwanda’s Southern Province is characterised by classic floral or citrus flavours and delicate creamy textures that are both subtle and sweet.
EASTERN PROVINCE – There are only a few washing stations and farms in Rwanda’s southeast corner, but these farms and washing stations are slowly establishing a reputation for producing coffees with rich chocolate and forest-fruit notes.