African coffees are a less well-known breed. When you think coffee, your mind tends to wander towards the Americas such as Colombia & Brazil but there's a whole world of coffee beyond the south west to explore. Rwanda is a tiny, landlocked country, nestled in the centre of the continent, and has become a big player in the world of coffee trading over the last 100 years.
The first instance of coffee growing in Rwanda can be traced back to 1904, brought to the country by German missionaries in a small mission in the Cyangugu province. From this small mission, coffee cultivation spread to the whole country and by 1917, the country was producing enough to export. By the 1930s, coffee became a compulsory crop for most farmers. Strict control by occupying Belgians meant that farmers were not incentivused to produce high quality goods, so the country was exporting low quality crop for cheap to avoid high taxation. However, by the 1990s, coffee grew to be Rwanda's most valuable export, but the unfortunate events of the decade that nearly 1 million lives in the country nearly destroyed the industry.
How Coffee Helped Rwanda
Coffee was an industry that assisted greatly in Rwanda's recovery following the genocide. Foreign aid that streamed into the country was specifically interested in the country's coffee production. Coffee became a symbol of positivity and prosperity for the struggling country. The governement became more open to the coffee trade and built washing stations to produce higher quality coffee. To this day, Rwanda is the only African country to host a Cup Of Excellence competition.
Rwanda is known as the land of a thousand hills. The country has the altitude and weather to grow amazing coffee, but transport poses a significant issue for production so costs rack up due to this, which was a significant issue in 2010 when coffee costs increased internationally.
Southern & Western Regions: Production around here is mainly focusd in the mountanous terrain of the Huye, Nyamagabe & Nyamashake regions on the shores of Lake Kivu.
Easter Region: Altitudes here are generally lower than the rest of the growing regions but great coffee is still produced in the most northeast areas of Ngoma and Nyagatare.
High quality Rwandan coffees often have a fruity, grape or crisp apple sweetness that makes a very pleasant cup. Berry fruit qualities and floral qualities are fairly common.
If you're looking to try a high quality Rwandan Coffee, try our Muraho Decaf.