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Region: Nyamasheke, Western Province
Producer(s): 750 small farm producers near the Kilimbi washing station
Variety: Red Bourbon
Altitude: 1650-1850 Meters Above Sea Level
Flavor Notes: Raspberry + Hazelnut
Back in 2019, two folks named Kenny and Julia showed up at our roastery. Kenny was from Rwanda and they were both looking to establish a sustainable coffee exporting business focused on Rwandan coffee. They were on a trip across the US to interview various roasting companies for market research, and swung by to talk to us. In their words, "sustainable” means both paying everyone well (farmers, washing station employees, exporters) and supporting businesses that have invested long-term in the community. He expressed that he had seen a lot of coffee businesses in Rwanda that were either not economically viable or were geared towards the buyers and that had no roots in the community. So, together they founded Higa Coffee. Julia has since focused on becoming a Q-grader (an individual who is credentialed to grade and score coffees) and both of them now cup coffees from different local producers and partners on a regular basis.
After searching, they found area partners who:
- pay their staff well
- pay farmers well (around 20% higher than market for cherries),
- have world-class quality control standards
- have amazing coffee
One of these partners was the Kilimbi washing station. Kilimbi is a smaller washing station, but a very impressive one, so much so that it has already won a Cup of Excellence award even though it was only founded in 2016. Last year we had a fully washed offering, but this year we decided to go with a natural-processed lot. The manager of the Kilimbi washing station, Joseph Ntarindwa, has extensive experience with experimental coffee processing methods and his station was the first in Rwanda to be given the rights to export natural-processed and honey-processed coffees. He is also an agronomist, and in that role he provides farmers surrounding the station with agricultural support before and after each harvest. This helps them secure, process and produce high quality coffee year after year. In the coming harvests, we look forward to the opportunity to highlight some of the other processing methods that Kilimbi has to offer.
In the cup, look for raspberry, hazelnut, and milk chocolate alongside softer notes of clove and orange. This coffee has a tart, dessert-like quality to it. It is clear that there is a lot of love and intention that went into this coffee. The efforts of Higa Coffee and Kilimbi Washing Station show that the desire to both make a quality product and a positive impact on peoples' lives can go hand in hand. We're excited to offer you such an excellent coffee to enjoy as we look forward to the warmer days ahead!
All coffees are available in whole bean only.
We roast and ship on Mondays and Thursdays. Orders placed Thursday through Sunday at midnight will roast and ship on Monday. Orders placed Monday through Wednesday at midnight will roast and ship on Thursday.