Good day everyone! Welcome to week 4 of our series on coffee. This week we're traveling to the Republic of Rwanda. A country that overcame civil war and genocide that enjoys political and social stability. Surprisingly (maybe not!), coffee has contributed to their journey on the road to forgiveness. This cash crop, which took a significant hit during the war between the Tutsis and Hutu, now brings members of the different tribes together as they cultivate, process and sell premium Arabica beans.
If I were to use only one word to describe Rwandan coffee I would use: amazing. The fertile volcanic soil, moderate climate and unique rainfall patterns create an environmentthat is conducive to producing flavorful Arabica beans. You may be wondering if beans from Rwanda have a distinct taste that separates them from their counterparts in Ethiopia and Kenya. Let me assure you, there are differences. Nature's usual suspects (soil, climate, altitude) play a significant part in the flavor profile of coffee while over time mutations of the Arabica beans embody varying aromas, acidity and amounts of caffeine. Traditionally, Rwandan beans are subtler when cupped beside Ethiopia and Kenya's and are know to be delicately laced with notes of citrus fruit, bittersweet chocolate and floral accents. Yet they consistently produce a premium quality bean no longer wanting to push low-grade beans after the collapse of coffee prices in the market.
A few weeks back (my first contributing blog as a matter of fact) I wrote of Rwandan coffee and how it's excelled above and beyond many other coffees. So much so that since 2008 they've held their own Cup of Excellence awards (COE) each year to celebrate and highlight exceptionally cultivated and processed beans. The Cup of Excellence awards is a program managed by the Alliance for Coffee Excellence (ACE) which is a US based, not for profit organization that oversees along with each member country; the competition, auction and programs for improved, efficient and environmentally friendly production of coffee.Â Currently Rwanda is the only African country taking part in the COE, benefiting the co-operative of farmers who fetch higher market prices for working together while restoring relationships between tribes once divided.
To read more about Rwanda's COE please go here.
As we continue to discover coffee around Africa I'd like to invite you, the readers to bring up any topics/questions or myths pertaining to coffee. Please email me by Friday, 5th Nov 9:00AM EDT and I will address anything you'd like to talk about on my blog for Wednesday, 10th Nov.
Until next time be well and breathe well!