We continue to work towards more lot separation and purchasing transparency in Rwanda. This particular lot is a separation of just eight smallholding producers with very small coffee gardens. In the cup we find a lovely traditional Rwandan profile of black tea, baking spice, and citrus.
Hand picked at peak ripeness. Hand sorted in cherry to remove defects. Multiple rounds of floating to continue removing defects. Depulped, then dry fermented for 12 hours. Washed. Dried on raised beds for around 40 days until moisture content reaches ~10.5%.
This is a new project for us. We've been working on trying to find a partner to work with in Rwanda that is interested in working on smaller separations and transparency, and we've finally found that partnership in Baho and Sundog. This is easily the most separated lot from Rwanda we've had the privilege of working with, coming from only 8 producers with extremely small gardens, around .2 hectares (.5 acres) each. Coffees from this region—and all around Lake Kivu—produce some of the most pronounced terroir-specific profiles in coffee, and we're very excited to watch this project grow.
Varieties in Rwanda are not exactly straightforward. We know that Red Bourbon is what is primarily being cultivated; however, we don't know at what relative percentages. Based on the history of production in Rwanda there is also most likely a number of different mutations as well as some Mbirizi and SL34 being grown as well.
The cost of getting a coffee from cherry to beverage varies enormously depending on its place of origin and the location of its consumption. The inclusion of price transparency is a starting point to inform broader conversation around the true costs of production and the sustainability of specialty coffee as a whole.