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As one of the first washing stations in Rwanda to switch its focus from quantity to quality, The Musasa Dukunde Kawa cooperative has played an integral role in transforming the coffee industry in the country. Situated in the rugged mountains in the Northwest of Rwanda, this cooperative consists of 3 washing stations and over 2100 members (As of 2015). Today, the Musasa cooperative produces some of the best specialty coffee lots to come out of Rwanda.
This particular coffee from comes from the Mbilima washing station of the Musasa cooperative. This specific washing station has shown incredible attention to detail and has delivered consistently impressive coffees over the last few years. Cherries are all hand picked when ripe, sorted, fermented for 12 hours and then sorted again. They are then dried on raised Africa beds for about 14 days (until they reach ~11% moisture). In between every step and during the processing the beans are constantly scrutinised to remove any potentially defective beans.
The coffee beans processed at the Musasa washing stations are grown by smallholder farmers, most of whom work on a mere quarter of a hectare of land, cultivating 250-300 coffee trees as well as subsistence crops. They have, thanks to the work of the cooperative, been able to double their incomes in recent years however, as a result of higher quality fetching a higher prices for their crops.
The farmers that are part of the Musasa cooperative also benefit from various social programmes, providing everything from training to bicycles for coffee cherry transport, and cows that supply much-needed milk and plenty of natural fertiliser!
Origin Coffee Roasting has been offering coffees from Musasa since they started working with Mercanta as sourcing partners back in 2007. Origin owner Joel Singer was actually a visitor there on one of the first trips Mercanta did to the cooperative. At CCB, the newest crops from Rwanda Musasa, sourced by Mercanta and roasted by our friends at Origin, are something we look forward to every year. We have many fond memories of many wonderful flavour experiences with these coffees.
Phaedon's tasting notes
My palate often seems to detect apple flavours in Rwandan coffees. Maybe it's the Red Bourbon variety, but it's often one of the things I've found in Musasa lots specifically, and this one is no exception. Having said that, I would call this one a distinctly green apple note; in fact, I would say it reminds me of green apple skin. It's not a very sweet flavour, but certainly very pleasant. It has quite a satisfying heavy, jammy quality. I enjoyed this coffee most in my moka pot and in an AeroPress.
- Flavour: Shiraz wine, white peach, citrus dark chocolate, dried cranberry
- Body: Round, elegant
- Roast: Medium
- Acidity: Well-balanced, orange
- Suitable for: Versatile
- Owners: Musasa Dukunde Kawa Cooperative – some 2,148 smallholder farmers – run by manager John Bosco Habimana
- Washing Station: Mbilima Washing station
- Varieties: 100% Red Bourbon
- Processing:Fully washed & sun dried on African beds
- Altitude: 1900-2200 masl
- Town/City: Rubyiniro (Dancing Place) Center
- Region: Coko sector, Gakenke District, Northern Province
- Country: Rwanda