Rwanda - Remera
Tasting notes: Dark fruit, chocolate, savory
Produced by: Remera Cooperative, Buf Café, Muhirwa Family
Region: Nyamagabe, Karaba Village
Altitude: 1950-2150 masl
Processing: Fully washed, shade dried on raised beds
Rwanda has been growing coffee since the early 1900’s when coffee trees were planted by the Germans in Mibilizi, and coffee gradually extended to the Lake Kivu region and then all throughout Rwanda. Today coffee is Rwanda’s highest agricultural export, but still only accounts for about 1.5% of global coffee production, simply because of its small geographical footprint. Rwanda has really embraced the specialty coffee market since 2002, and the government now has programs intent on supporting and elevating the status of Rwandan coffee.
When you take a step back and reflect, it becomes easy to appreciate the story of coffee in Rwanda. Of course, when people think of Rwanda, even today, the devastation from the very complicated 1994 civil war is what comes to mind. Entire coffee plantations and whole infrastructures related to coffee production were completely destroyed. There are both internal and external factors credited to Rwanda’s success, but most important is not to overlook the immensity of their achievement.
In South Rwanda, where elevation is the highest, is where two Buf Café washing stations are situated – Nyarusiza and Remera – just outside the village of Karaba. This coffee is a product of the Remera washing station, which sits at at towering elevation of 2000 masl. Buf Café procures coffee from two cooperatives, Cobabakagi (1300 members) and Terimbere Kawa Yacu (500 members). Farmers are paid a premium for selecting and picking ripe cherries.
The coffee is processed using Rwandan fully washed methods and sorting practices. First a floated sorting tank, then 8-12 hours of dry fermentation, followed by a second sort for weight using wash shoots, then a 24 hour soak before hand sorting, and finished on raised drying beds.
We get really excited about Rwandan coffee because it truly is a distinct origin. It is “like” other African coffees but it is wholly unique too. We tend to think of them as a cross between coffees from Kenya and Congo – big flavors with nuanced, authentic character. This particular coffee is very clean, and very complex. It has really stunning dark fruit up front, with milk chocolate, orange zest, and a unique savory character reminiscent of watercress and iceberg lettuce. It is well balanced with fruit and florals and citrus, with a creamy mouthfeel. Give it a try!