We’ve really loved each and every coffee we’ve gotten so far from our newest coffee importer, Red Fox Coffee Merchants. Our latest Rwanda Kanzu is no exception. Coffee in Rwanda has boomed since the end of the genocide in 1994 and they have come to be known for their incredibly clean and noticeable cups of coffee. We hope you’ll enjoy! It’s available in our shop now while it lasts.

Photo: Red Fox Coffee Merchants

Rwanda Kanzu Lot 14

Province: Western Province
District: Nyamasheke
Sector: Karambi
Washing Station: Kanzu
Altitude: 1800 – 2100 MASL (5,900 – 6,900 feet)
Variety: French Mission Bourbon
Process: Washed
Fermentation: Dry 16-18 hours, followed by soaking 18 hours
Drying Method: Raised Beds
Importer: Red Fox Coffee Merchants

Tasting Notes: Tangerine, brown sugar, black walnut

Informative and interesting perspectives from our importer:

KANZU Coffee Washing Station is located in the Western Province of Nyamasheke. Sitting on the shoulders of Lake Kivu, and a stone’s throw from Nyungwe National Park, the washing station is located on the Rwanda Congo Nile Mountain Chain. The Kanzu factory itself is located at 1900 masl, and farmers bring their cherry down to the mill from the slopes above.  The extreme altitude and Bourbon-laden hills make it one of the coffee world’s true treasures.  The local population survive on agriculture, cultivating subsistence crops like peas, cassava and banana. Coffee is used as their predominant cash crop. The coffee season in Rwanda runs from March-July. Kanzu employs 50 local men and women during the coffee season. In 2007, Kanzu was one of the runners up in the Rwandan Golden Cup, and received an award at the Cup of Excellence in 2008. After arriving at the washing station, cherry is floated and pulped, using a McKinnon disc pulper. The coffee in parchment then undergoes a dry fermentation for 16 – 18 hours before the remaining mucilage is washed off, followed by soaking.  This typically takes up to 18 hours, before the coffee is dried on raised beds with a mesh bottom, allowing for air circulation. The wastewater from the processing is treated with Effective Microorganisms to secure the local water resources for the nearby community.

From start to finish, harvest in Rwanda runs about 4-5 months. Lots coming from the peak of the harvest (weeks 8-12) demonstrate saturated levels of sweetness. These coffees are full of muscovado sugar, dark honey, tamarind, and date. Coffees from towards the end of the harvest (weeks 14-18) have brilliant, lucid acidity. Malic and tartaric acidity dominate these profiles, which run the gamut from granny smith apple and Asian pear to concord grape and red currant.

Very few coffee-producing countries have received the kind of focused aid that Rwanda has seen since the end of the genocide in 1994. Beginning in 2001 with the PEARL Project, and continuing with SPREAD, which ended in 2012, the Rwandese coffee industry was the focus of a series of collaborative development projects designed to rebuild the agricultural sector, mainly coffee & cassava, after the devastation of genocide & civil war. PEARL and SPREAD were funded by USAID and U.S. universities and led by Dr. Tim Schilling. By building washing stations, forming coops, and training agronomists, cuppers and quality control personnel, the programs helped to elevate Rwandese coffee to new heights, giving farmers access to specialty coffee markets and prices.

Thanks to the success of these innovative programs, the Rwandese coffee industry has become one of Eastern Africa’s crown jewels. Its countryside is covered in beautiful Bourbon trees growing at elevations that can exceed 2,000 masl. Processing is meticulous and done with as much or more attention to detail than most origins out there, giving us some of the cleanest, most perceptible flavor profiles of anywhere we work.