Watch our Rwanda Mutovu video tour for an up close look at this coffee washing station in Nyamasheke that we’ve bought from for many years.
With new-crop RwandaA Bourbon cultivar variant from Rwanda and Burundi. Bourbon coffees are named for the island in the India Ocean where French colonists grew it. Some history from the... ...more finally here, we see the return of Nyamasheke Mutovu, a coffee we’ve been lucky enough to buy every year since the cooperative started up in 2012. Why do we consider ourselves “lucky”, you ask? To start, Mutovu is one of the most consistent Rwandan coffee processingThe removal of the cherry and parchment from the coffee seed.: Coffee is either wet-processed (also called washed or wet-milled) or dry-processed (also called wild, natural or natural... ...more stations we buy from in terms of a high cup score and flavor profileFlavor Profile implies a graphical impression of a particular coffee, whether it be an artistic portrait or data graph of the perception of flavor compounds. In the case... ...more. But luck has little to do with their success. The improvements they’ve made to both infrastructure and process are evident when we visit, and not doubt factor into their consistency as coffee producers.
Mutovu has been around for nearly a decade and is located in the Nyamasheke District near Nyungwe National Forest. The processing site sits at 1750 meters and the coffee is grown up to about 1900. It started out as a small cooperative owned by only a few local farmers who processed their own coffee as well as bought coffee from other farmers in the region. Mutovu sold a few years back to a private coffee company, though operation is still under the management of the local community.
Mutovu coffee shows some of what we consider to be archetypal Rwandan coffee flavors (these apply to BurundiBurundi coffee bears resemblance to neighboring Rwanda, in both cup character, but also the culture surrounding coffee. Burundi is a small landlocked country at the crossroads of East... ...more too); complexThe co-presence of many aroma and flavor attributes, with multiple layers. A general impression of a coffee, similar to judgments such as "balanced" or "structured" ...more baking spice and tea notes, stone fruit and raw sugar sweetnessSweetness is an important positive quality in fine coffees, and is one of five basic tastes: Sour, Sweet, Salty, Bitter, Savory (Umami). In coffee, sweetness is a highly... ...more. The varietal grown is BourbonA coffee cultivar; a cross between Typica and Bourbon, originally grown in Brazil: Mundo Novo is a commercial coffee cultivar; a natural hybrid between "Sumatra" and Red Bourbon,... ...more, which we know that when grown at high altitudes has greater potential for sweetness. The seeds are dense too, which lends to roast versatility and a coffee that functions well in many different brew applications. All of these details factor into a competition-level coffee no matter what the originIn coffee talk, it refers to a coffee-producing region or country; such as, "I was just at origin." Of course "Origin" for most product we use is not... ...more!
Tom put together a short video from his last visit to Mutovu in May, 2019. He shows us Mutovu’s workflow from whole cherryEither a flavor in the coffee, or referring to the fruit of the coffee tree, which somewhat resembles a red cherry.: Either a flavor in the coffee, or... ...more to coffee drying on the beds and shares his thoughts on how small improvements at the mill have made a big impact on the cup. This year Mutovu met the criteria to become C.A.F.E. Practices certified by Starbucks, which has meant an added layer of quality control, increased level of financial transparencyTransparency is a flavor characterization synonymous with clarity. It is also a business ethics term, implying that as much information as possible about a product is made available... ...more and commitment to environmental stewardship and community.
Here’s a video of a blind tasting of last year’s Rwanda and Burundi coffees to see how they compare to coffees from Latin America. Check it out if you’re into surprises (hint: score doesn’t always follow price).
View our entire Rwanda stock on Sweet Maria’s / on Coffee Shrub
Also see our article Congo Kivu Coffee Photo Tour