Rwanda - Huye Mountain #337 (Washed) - Filter
Rwandan coffee has suffered badly over the last few years, primarily from its negative association with potato defects and poor processing. That's changing, fast, and we're as pleased as anyone about this, as it's an origin with so much potential and promise. There's been a few stand out names in Rwandan coffee that have raised the bar over the last 10 years, and Huye Mountain is one of them.
Why this coffee?
Huye Mountain is a coffee name we know pretty well, as it has been responsible for producing some of the best small lot coffee from Rwanda for a good while now (Including several cups of excellence) and has been a hugely popular choice with many specialty roasteries. Lots of roasteries tend to take the path of established names, as it's both safer and easier to just buy based on reputation and not spend time looking for new gems out there with lesser known profiles, which is a shame. We usually go down the hard route, but in this case, it was a simple decision, as the coffee was simply the best out there.
Profiles of Huye Mountain coffees have varied greatly over the years, but a common characteristic is complex, vibrant acidity with a silky mouthfeel. This lot with the catchy name of 'Lot #337' does tend to fall into that category, with a dark (bournville style) chocolate body, limey acidity, and a very velvety feel to it. It doesn't have the kind of overpowering acidity and fruits like a Kenyan, so it actually works well across both espresso and filter, hence the two different roasts and listings.
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 in a Penagos disc pulper before entering a concrete fermentation tank where they are held for 12 to 15 hours. It is a dry fermentation process meaning that extra water is not added.
After this, the mucilage is loose enough to be washed away and the tank is then filled with water and the coffee turned with a large wooden paddle before being drained. This process is repeated a further 4 times to ensure the coffee is clean before being channeled through water (when further floaters are removed) and is then transported to raised beds for drying.
Initial drainage drying is under shade as the coffee could be damaged at this point if it is exposed to too much heat. Then it is taken to the drying tables in the sunshine where the beans are diligently sorted by hand to remove defects and turned it regularly. This can take between 15 to 20 days. The parchment coffee then goes to storage to be held for two months while it conditions (the evening of moisture content) before being trucked to the mill of our sister company, Rwanda Trading Company, in Kigali. Here the parchment is milled away and any further defects are removed using light sorting machines. Gravity sorting machines are also used to remove broken beans and foreign bodies before the coffee is finally packed into 60kg bags (lined with Grain Pro) and containerised for export. The coffee is trucked to either Dar es Salaam in Tanzania or Mombasa in Kenya, where it is shipped to our roaster clients around the world.
Bourbon, alongside its brother Typica was one of the original cultivars of coffee varietals. It originates from the Union island, previously known as 'Bourbon Island' (hence the name tag). The Bourbon varietal was a product of a mutated Typica that resulted in a highly sought after and reliable coffee plant that developed high yields (20-30% more than average) and was more resistant to various types of leaf rust that many other coffee plant varietals.
It grows best at around 1100-2000 masl and comes in three versions - the original red bourbon, followed by two further mutations in orange and yellow. It found it's way to Brazil in the 1860's and is now one of the leading coffee varietals used there, which accounts for a large % of the world's coffee output.
While Brazilian bourbons tend to be more full-bodied, nutty and caramel, Rwandan bourbons result in a more fruity and complex cup, which is represented well from Huye Mountain.
Blood Orange, Dark Chocolate, Grapefruit plus a descriptor of Clean.
David is a philanthropist who cares deeply about the smallholder farmers who deliver their coffee to his station, and constantly strives to make improvements to ensure that the 1330 farmers who deliver cherry to Huye receive fair prices and premiums based on the quality of the coffee they produce. Alongside payments, David also rewards the farmer groups he works with with social premiums and quality incentives - such as cows, goats, access to micro-loans, school fees and health insurance. In addition, David has driven environmental changes at Huye, initiating a water reduction program, which involves recycling water used for pulping, with the aim of reducing use at the station by a third.
During harvest season, producers deliver their freshly picked coffee cherries to 26 collecting stations around the Huye community, where a truck visits daily to collect coffee during harvest season. 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.
Davids 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 Huyes success in the Cup of Excellence: 2nd place in 2012, and 6th and 11th in 2013 with two competing lots.
- Farm: Huye Mountain (Lot ID #337)
- Varietal: Bourbon
- Process: Washed
- Elevation: 1600-2300 MASL
- Weight: 250g / 1KG
- Roast: Filter
- This coffee is avalilable as wholesale. If you would like to know more about wholesale supply and pricing, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org