Rwanda Huye Mountain
Farm: Huye Mountain
Notes: raisins | orange | dried plums
Located on the slopes of Huye Mountain in the Huye District in Southern Rwanda, this private washing station is owned by David Rubanzangabo. Let’s simply call him David, so it will not take us forever to read this text. David is something of a philanthropist, and cares deeply about the smallholder farmers who deliver their coffee to his station. Typically, a small holding in the district is just a quarter of a hectare in size, with around 200 trees. The yield is about 4kg of cherry per tree, so each farm only produces roughly 2 bags of coffee. It is entirely bourbon, which, coupled with an altitude ranging from 1,600 to 2,300 metres above sea level, brings about lots of complexity and great flavours in the cup.
His drive for quality has brought about a big increase in prices for local farmers. Confirmation of the high levels of quality that they are producing is Huye's success in the Cup of Excellence: 2nd place in 2012, and 6th and 11th in 2013 with two competing lots. To encourage consistency of quality, David awards members whose coffees carry the highest cupping scores with the prize of a watchdog… just kidding… with a cow (40 members each won one) or a hound dog… kidding again… a goat (60 winners last year). Though one would expect a dog to fit the description, it is a cow who seems to be able to make a huge difference to the lives of a family since it will provide milk for around 6 years and a constant supply of organic fertilizer for the coffee trees. Well, a dog, too, could provide that, and he would also dig up the garden.
The processing is based on washing the coffee with a set up that is typical throughout East Africa. The freshly delivered coffee is inspected to ensure only good red and ripe cherries are included. Then it is put into the receiving tank where inferior floaters are removed. The denser, high quality cherries are then pulped before entering a concrete fermentation tank.
The parchment coffee then goes to storage to be held for two months. Then, it is trucked to the mill of the Rwanda Trading Company, in Kigali. Here the parchment is milled away and any further defects are removed using light sorting machines. Finally, it is packed into 60kg bags and sent for export to either Dar es Salaam in Tanzania or Mombasa in Kenya, where it is shipped to David’s roaster clients around the world. David and Bob haven’t had the pleasure to meet yet, but we assure you that their respect is mutual, you just have to taste the coffee. Do not sip it; at most, splatter it.