The Roastery & Cafe
LOCATION: NYAMASHEKE, RWANDA
Tasting Notes: Red Fruits, Praline, Hibiscus
Very few coffee-producing countries have received the kind of focused aid that Rwanda has seen since the end of the genocide in 1994. Beginning in 2001 with the PEARL Project, and continuing with SPREAD, which ended in 2012, the Rwandese coffee industry was the focus of a series of collaborative development projects designed to rebuild the agricultural sector, mainly coffee & cassava, after the devastation of genocide & civil war. PEARL and SPREAD were funded by USAID and U.S. universities and led by Dr. Tim Schilling. By building washing stations, forming coops, and training agronomists, cuppers and quality control personnel, the programs helped to elevate Rwandese coffee to new heights, giving farmers access to specialty coffee markets and prices. In 2012, Dormans took over Kanzu washing station and spent the intervening years making investments in infrastructure, training farmers on agronomic best practices, and improving quality control.
Nyamasheke, Rwanda is home to the Kanzu washing station, a world renown coffee processing factory. Kanzu is a jewel of a place — organized and well-run, set against green hills of coffee, cassava, sweet potato, sugar cane, bananas, and beans at 1900 meters above sea level. Kanzu employs 50 local men and women during the harvest season. From start to finish, harvest in Rwanda runs about 4-5 months from March to July. Lots are separated by each outturn throughout the season.
After arriving at the washing station, cherry is floated and pulped, using a disc pulper. The coffee in parchment then undergoes a dry fermentation for 16-18 hours before the remaining mucilage is washed off, followed by soaking. This typically takes up to 18 hours before the coffee is dried on raised beds with a mesh bottom, allowing for air circulation. The wastewater from the processing is treated with Effective microorganisms (EMTechnologies™) to secure the local water resources for the nearby community.
This lot (#18), along with a different lot (#26) that we will release later this summer, is another prime example of the beauty of community lots. The investment from government agencies and the robust coffee growing infrastructure provide small farmers with opportunities to contribute their harvest to a healthy, thriving, and high quality washing station and receive adequate pay with little risk.