Rwanda is blessed with ideal coffee growing conditions that include high altitude, regular
rainfall, volcanic soils with good organic structure and an abundance of Bourbon. The vast
majority of Rwandan coffee is produced by smallholders of which there are thought to be
around half a million with parcels of land often not much larger than just one hectare per
family. Coffee is grown in most parts the country, with particularly large concentrations
along Lake Kivu and in the southern province. Rwandan smallholders organise themselves
into cooperatives and share the services of centralised wet-mills – or washing stations as
they are known locally.Flowering takes place between September and October and the
harvest runs from March to July, with shipments starting in August through December.
Mbare washing station was built in 2013 and started out as a cooperative. After five years
operating as a cooperative, entrepreneur David Sanzira acquired the washing station in
2018. Since then, he has made quality coffee his top priority and has started experimenting
with different processing methods.
This harvest season was his first time offering a natural process coffee and we were very
impressed with the results when we first tasted this lot with notes of fresh peach, dried
fruit, and a heavy body.