Rwanda, Cyesha Mugeyo Village
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Raspberry, Plum, Honey, Cocoa Nibs
Rwanda is the land of the thousand hills. Located at the Great Africa Rift Valley and Great Lakes Region, it is landlocked but blessed with rolling hills and waters. It is located just south of the equator and enjoys a cool weather pattern as most of the country is located on a plateau, around 1,500 m above sea level.
This coffee comes from the Western province of Rwanda, in Nyamasheke district, Kanjongo Sector, Susa cell in Mugeyo Village where there is a washing station of the same name. This region is the coldest in Rwanda, at around 1,850 m in the neighborhood of Nyungwe National Park - a protected natural forest rich in biodiversity. Climate is subtropical highland climate or temperate oceanic climate with dry winters, giving the coffee a cool weather for slow growing, but yet allowing 5 to 8 hours of sunlight per day throughout the year like any country located along the Equator. The average temperature is below 20°C, dipping further in the nights and during winter season. Rainfall in the national park is adequate as compared to other parts of Africa, about half of what Singapore receives. This amount of rainfall allows healthy growth without need for irrigation, and just enough to concentrate the flavour profile of the coffee. This terroir produces a hard and high density coffee full of flavours, which are carried by the syrupy and thick mouthfeel bestowed by the nitrogen-rich soils.
Like most coffees grown in Rwanda, this coffee is of the Bourbon (Jackson Bourbon) variety - the classic sweet and round profile. The cool climate and careful wash processing bestow it with clean flavour notes of raspberries and other red berries on a citrus base, turning into heavier notes of pear, plum, honey, cocoa nibs and brown spices when it cools. Mouthfeel is syrupy, full-bodied but soft. A coffee grown within a bio-rich area is always exciting!
Rwanda coffee shares the same fact as its neighbour Burundi - both coffees suffers from a defect called potato defect caused by the Antestia bug sucking nutrients out of the cherry and leaving it with a smell of raw potato. The bite is tiny and cannot be detected by human inspection or machine during coffee processing, and can only be detected during brewing. For better quality control, we are adopting 5 cups instead of the usual 3 cups for production cupping. We try our best to ensure our Rwanda coffee is defect-free.
Cyesha Coffee was founded by Gerard Nikunzurwanda in 2018. Although a new company, he comes from a family of coffee growers and started doing coffee since a young age. He works with 278 coffee farmers of whom, 172 are women and 106 are men while 11% of them are youth. The company itself has established its own 14 ha coffee plantation where all good agricultural practices are applied and farmers learn best practices from it. A growing company, it is managed by the team of 6 people with 6 coffees collectors and hires 106 casual workers during the coffee processing season and 20 workers who always maintain the company’s own coffee industrial plantation.
We are encouraged by the sustainable practices the coffee adopts in the production of this coffee. From the company's website, it says "it pays for health insurance for poor families (45 last year), renovates shelters for poor families, supported distribution of clean water to 220 poor families, built bridges and maintains roads to the Coffee Washing Stations and provides small loans with no interests to the farmers for paying school fees for their children and socioeconomic development projects. For environment protection, it grows agro forestry trees, distribute them to farmers and dig anti-erosive terraces. The company makes compost for farmers and produces coffee seedlings for farmers. Cyesha Coffee Ltd hires youth and women in the company activities and mobilize them to engage in coffee activities. Soon, it will behaving and marketing coffee specifically grown and processed by women and youth i.e women coffee and youth coffee respectively."
It is always important to note that good coffee must be sustainable.