Rwanda’s coffee has been grown for a very long time as far back as in the 1930s when Rwandan farmers were forced to plant an abundance of coffee trees by the Belgian colonial empire. This caused the growth of poor quality coffee as the farmers lacked proper infrastructure needed to wash and process the coffee as well as motivation. Coffee prices from Rwanda plummeted in the 1980s as well as in 1994 during the genocide. This just facilitated the phasing out of the already damaged industry and by 2000 the future of Rwandan coffee was really dim.
Today the Rwandan coffee industry has shown tremendous growth and the world has received some of the highest quality coffee from Rwanda. The coffee industry has also benefited its citizens by increasing job opportunities as well as boosting small scale farmers’ expenditure and consumption. It has also boosted the reconciliation process between the Hutus and Tutsis who most of the times are working together in the coffee farms thus fostering peace in the country. Credit goes to the leaders who saw a future in the Rwandan coffee industry and lowered trade barriers as well as lifting restriction on coffee farmers. In addition to this Rwanda adopted a strategy to focus on producing high quality coffee beans. International donors have of late also made way into the country and have helped to fund, train and assist farmers by coming up with programs like PEARL. The main objective of PEARL is to train Rwandans in agronomy, cupping as well as quality control management which will eventually increase yields. These have been the main factors that have boosted Rwandan coffee on the world market today.
Characteristics of Rwanda Coffee
Rwanda coffee has a silky, buttery creamy body that it carries into the aftertaste with floral notes of Ethopian Yirgacheffe Coffee and also an acidity of the Kenyan coffee. The aroma gives off a lemon and orange flavor with floral notes that complement the sweet citrus qualities with a feel of caramel in the aftertaste. A sweet flavor that is given off by a good Rwanda coffee suggests caramelized cane sugar along with spice notes of cinnamon, clove, allspice as well as rose floral aromas. These characteristics are almost similar to other East African coffees like the one from Kenya and Zimbabwe.
Rwandan Coffee Plant Varietals
High quality Arabica varietal Bourbon makes up about 95% of Rwanda’s coffee plants. Catuai and Caturra varietals are also cultivated on relatively small amounts. Much of the coffee grown is wet processed using communal washing stations and this what many of coffee farmers use.
Coffee in Rwanda is mainly grown at elevations that range from 1200 to 1800 meters above sea level. Coffee plants flower in September and October and by March – July, the coffee cherries are ready for harvest.
Regions in which coffee are grown
Coffee is grown in the Northern, western, southern and Eastern provinces of the country. In the Northern Province coffee is grown in Rulindo. Here you will find the finest coffee in the land. All the necessary characteristics required to produce exceptional coffee are found here including fertile red soils. Arabica varieties are grown here by people dedicated to producing the excellent coffee there can be.
In the Western province it is grown in various areas which include; Kabirizi, Kigeyo organic washing station and Gishamwana Coffee Island. Gishamwana coffee island is located right in the middle of Lake Kivu with over 35,000 coffee trees which merge to give an incredible sight from the shore. The coffee cherries are transported from the island to the mainland for processing by boat. Being in isolation from the mainland has freed this coffee from the common natural coffee diseases.
The future of Rwanda coffee is still going uphill and you can be a part of this journey by just trying it today!
Rwanda is such a great destination with a wonderful weather condition,its because of its climate that has enabled the growth of coffee.Rwanda coffee has thrived because of some features such as the sun and equatorial mist,the high altitude as well as the volcanic soils that are fertile for coffee growth.Coffee is a seed that is beautifully sweet and that can make different flavors.Ever since Rwanda decided to grow coffee,it has led to the development of its economy and recently it was international acknowledged as the world’s best coffee sellers.
Rwanda coffee was introduced in 1904,and the people of Rwanda found so much interest in the activity.The majority of the people that participant most included the rural people,this was because it was the only way they would generate some income sustain their families.By this time,the economy of Rwanda made plenty of money and this was because their coffee was of a high grade.Unfortunately,there was a time when the coffee prices fell worldwide and this led to the collapse of coffee growing in Rwanda.People resorted to growing food crops as it was the only way to maintain their families.
Later on, a solution to this problem was discovered as the officials of Rwanda had to advertise more of their good grade coffee than the genocide that killed so many people.The international agencies gave aid to Rwanda government and this was inform of coffe washing stations to enable them set off with their coffee market.Interestingly,coffee farmers had to form cooperatives and through this, they were trained with better skills in coffee growing.
Since then Rwanda coffee picked up,due to the fact that they had enough labor that would all the necessary work to make sure the coffee got is clean without bad beans.Some of the coffee is exported and some left for consumption.Coffe happened to sell very well last year and the need for Rwanda coffee spread worldwide.This was alleged by the spokesperson for specialty coffee Association of America.The Rwanda coffee industry has gained fame and its working hard to maintain its reputation.
The so many people that have got a chance to taste this coffee bear me witness that its sweet with the best flavor.However coffee bought directly from the Rwanda people counts a lot and the Americans believe that the more we buy Rwanda coffee the more we give them hope and courage to produce even better coffee.After the drastic results,Rwanda aims at having more washing stations of about 240 giving the best of the washed coffee.Research as it that washed coffee sells best and this because of the so many stations that has lead to the fast transition of Rwanda’s Economy.