Rwanda was first introduced to coffee in 1904 by some German missionaries. Around 1930, the coffee production in Rwanda greatly increased, becoming a crop staple for many farmers, however it was mostly low-grade coffee. However, today Rwanda has seen a coffee reform and is currently Africa’s ninth largest Arabica coffee producer. The coffee comes from about 450,000 small farms that average about one hectare in size and contain about 165 coffee trees. This totals about 28,000 hectares of coffee crops.
About 95% of Rwanda’s coffee is comprised of a high quality Arabica/Bourbon varietal. The rest is comprised of Catuai and Caturra varietals. Once the coffee is harvested, between March and July each year, the coffee is then put through the wet process system. The wet processing takes place at communal washing stations that are shared by numerous farmers in that area. Coffee is typically grown at heights ranging from 1,200 to 1,800 meters above sea level.
A good cup of Rwanda coffee has a very silky, creamy body that boasts floral notes and a good acidity. The aroma also reminds one of lemon and orange blossom, with floral hints throughout. The sweetness that is often found in Rwandan coffee resembles that of caramelized sugar can, clove, cinnamon, and allspice. Rwandan coffee has similar characteristics to East African coffees, such as Kenya and Zimbabwe.
Key Rwanda Coffee Profile Notes
Varietals: Arabica and Bourbon, Catuai and Caturra
General Cup Profile: Silky, buttery, smooth, creamy, good acidity, citrus, floral, sweet
Grow Altitude: 1200-1800 meters