In June we returned to Rwanda to visit and taste selections from our longstanding producing partners. Mahembe, Gitesi and Buf Coffee have all provided us with great coffees since we began roasting and with the high-quality harvest in 2017, it meant we were able to taste a lot of delicious coffees, some that had been dried on raised beds under shade, whilst others were dried in direct sunlight. With Mahembe there were a couple of years when we were unable to buy any of their lots, as they were in great demand thanks to their success in the national Cup of Excellence competition but this year they produced so many excellent lots there was enough for all! It was great to taste so many selections from the station as we were able to find some absolute gems. With this lot our absolute favourite, we’re happy to be roasting and sharing it with you.
The coffees from the Mahembe station, owned by Justin Musabyimana, share the tendency to taste both fruity and spicy, coupled with a juicy body and a very clean sweetness. What we found cupping his coffees this year was even more focus and structure in the cup from previous harvests. The last four times we have roasted his coffee he was using a traditional disc pulper to remove the skins from the coffee cherry, before fermenting in water, then washing and soaking the clean parchment coffee. This year, Justin has installed and began to use his Penagos Eco-Pulper. This machine uses less water to feed the coffee cherries through a pulper, and then uses a mechanical demucilager to scrub away some of the sugars clinging to the parchment coffee, a process that fermentation usually takes care of by naturally breaking them down. Rather than set the demucilager to 100%, Justin is removing 70% of the mucilage mechanically, before letting the coffee undergo the traditional fermentation stages, allowing greater control of the process and reducing the risk of imparting pulpy or funky off notes.
As well as processing coffee from his own small farm of around 12,000 trees, Justin buys coffee cherries from members of the Twitezimbere Mahembe Union, comprised of about 70% female members from the neighbouring hillsides. He is very particular about only purchasing ripe cherry, for which he pays a premium.
We hope you enjoy our latest coffee release from the Mahembe station, coming all the way from the Nyamasheke region of beautiful Rwanda.