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It is our eighth year working with coffee from Justin Musabyimana’s washing station. Our love for clean, vivid washed Rwandan coffees grows each time we get to work with lots from Mahembe.

The Producer

Justin rose to coffee 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 2010 Cup of Excellence competition and continued to place highly in following years. Through Nordic Approach and their relationship with Rwanda Trading Company (RTC), we’ve been able to maintain our relationship with Justin, having visited him at the washing station personally several times over the years, and having bought and roasted Mahembe coffee for eight seasons now.

The Washing Station

Despite success from early on, 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, and so it stands a little apart from the flavour profiles of eco-pulped and then fermented lots we have roasted from Mahembe in the past. 

As well as thoroughly hand sorting and floating coffee cherries before depulping, there is a rigorous hand sorting stage performed after washing, called ‘skin drying’, when discoloured parchment is removed before the coffee is put out to properly dry. At Mahembe they have plenty of raised beds in the sun, as well as a shaded, multi-tiered drying structure that has been installed in recent years.

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 he has several farm plots with tens of thousands of coffee trees and a secondary washing station operating in Nyagatare, which is supplied by 675 members of the Abatarushwa Co-operative. In Nyamasheke they are 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 filter and heat water for the workers and local farming community. The generator also powers lighting which allows the station to continue operating after sundown, meaning cherry can still be sorted and equipment can be better monitored and maintained. 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, as well as use on their other 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

Read more

Mahembe

Nyamasheke, Western Province, Rwanda

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Nicely concentrated & jammy, look for flavours of black cherry & lemon cake. Sweet pecan & butterscotch leads to clove & cacao nib in the finish.

Collections: All Products, Coffee

Category: Filter

Type: Filter

Coffee Information

Producer Justin Musabyimana

Harvest June, 2022

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 2,100 metres

Arrival October, 2022

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.

    Shipping

    • All our whole bean coffee is packed in 250g, nitrogen flushed and valved bags
    • Available as whole bean or pre-ground.
    • All orders are packed and shipped each working day
    • For more information on shipping, see our 'Shipping' page

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