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This marks our sixth season buying coffee from Mahembe coffee washing station, processed by Justin Musabyimana in Rwanda's Nyamasheke region.

The Producer

Justin rose to fame quite quickly; his initial move in 2008 to take over his father's coffee farm led to operating the coffee washing station at such a high level that he placed 4th in Rwanda's 2014 Cup of Excellence (CoE) competition and continued to place highly in following years. 

After first purchasing and roasting Mahembe in 2013, we struggled to compete for Justin's lots in 2014 and 2015, as his reputation in the CoE attracted buyers from Starbucks. Thankfully, through import partner Nordic Approach and their relationship wit Rwanda Trading Company (RTC), we've been able to maintain the relationship and secure Mahembe lots from the last five years' harvests.

We last visited Rwanda in the summer of 2019 to revisit Justin at his station, taking Kristyna, our Head Roaster, on her first trip to origin. She instantly recognised Justin's coffees on the cupping table at RTC because of their vivid fruity qualities.

The Washing Station

Despite his early success, Justin is always adapting and aiming to improve his specialty grade coffees. In 2016, the coffee washing station eschewed their traditional disc pulper in favour of a Penagos eco-pulper, used to depulp and mechanically remove mucilage from the coffee seeds before processing.

However, due to a freak lightning strike mid-season in 2018, their depulper exploded, taking a reception tank used for floating coffee cherries with it. They rebuilt the tank and structures surrounding the depulper quickly, and reinstalled their traditional three-disc pulper, which inevitably altered the fermentation profile of his coffees. 

The increased level of sugars on the parchment as it is left to ferment provide more fuel for the native microbiome, relied on to break down this pectin rich layer surrounding the seeds before washing and soaking. As a result, it stands a little apart from the flavour profiles of eco-pulped and then fermented lots we have roasted from Mahembe in the past.

Their Approach

Justin continues to focus on producing high quality, specialty coffee, which makes up around 75% of his total production. As well as purchasing cherries from local smallholders for a premium price, they tend to their own 8-hectare farm near the coffee washing station. When we last visited, there were 12,000 coffee trees, but they now have 40,000 planted on their land, which next year will be certified organic. They are also collaborating closely with the 70% female Twitezimbere Mahembe Union to bring selectively picked, ripe coffee cherries to the station.

As well as rebuilding part of the processing station, Mahembe have recently installed a solar powered generator to boil water for the workers. They continue to make organic compost from the discarded coffee pulp, which the smallholder farmers delivering cherries can take to put around their coffee trees to increase vigour and yields and use on their own crops. 

As always with coffees from Mahembe, expect a balance of crisp red fruits, a sweet, juicy character, brisk tea-like notes and delicate florals.

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Nyamasheke, Western Province, Rwanda

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Enticing aromas of floral honey & grapefruit zest lead to a balanced, caramelly cup. Look for a soft, plush acidity like ripe apricots.

Collections: All Products, Coffee

Category: Filter

Type: Filter

Coffee Information

Producer Justin Musabyimana

Harvest May to June, 2020

Process Cherries floated, traditionally depulped, 12hr wet fermentation, washed & soaked, dried on raised beds.

Variety Red Bourbon

Region Nyamasheke, Western Province

Country Rwanda

Altitude 1,800 to 1,900 metres

Arrival December, 2020

More on Pre-Ground

From finest to coarsest, the filter grind settings we are offering are as follows:

  • Fairly Fine (1 Cup Pourover/AeroPress/SteepShot)
  • Fine-Medium (2 Cup Pourover/Clever Dripper)
  • Medium (French Press)
  • Coarse (Moccamaster/Autobrewer/Chemex)
  • Our pre-ground options are designed to map to a particular dose of coffee as much as the brewers mentioned. If you’re brewing just 15g in a 2 Cup V60 brew cone as it is the only cone you have, you should opt for the 1 Cup V60 grind size. Similarly, if you are just brewing 30g in a MoccaMaster, you should opt for a finer grind setting, like the 2 Cup V60.

    We would advise using these as starting points:
  • 12-18g: Fairly fine
  • 19-28g: Fine-medium
  • 29-55g: Medium
  • 56-80g: Coarse
  • Please note that pre-ground coffee will be delivered in a different bag to its whole bean counterpart. This is to ensure easy access when it comes to measuring our your dose. You will also find a ‘Ground on’ date on the bag in place of a ‘Roasted on’ date – we advise brewing your pre-ground coffee within 2 weeks of the ‘Ground on’ date.

    For more information on our approach to pre-ground coffee, visit our learn section here.


    • All our coffee is packed in 250g, nitrogen flushed valved bags
    • To preserve quality, we are only able to ship whole bean coffee
    • All orders are packed and shipped each working day
    • For more information on shipping, see our 'Shipping' page

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