Rwanda Gishamwana Island
“Just a short boat ride away from Rwanda’s Lake Kivu shoreline, there rests a secluded coffee island often mistaken for a mirage: Gishamwana Island. More than 35,000 coffee trees are planted on this site, and it's milled and dried here as well, completing the production cycle. The island is biodiverse, with environmental harmony in mind, and cows, goats, and even an albino rabbit coexists with the coffee trees. This island coffee farm is privately owned by Emmanuel Rwakagara, the founder of COOPAC, and the coffee is grown organically amongst forestry that provides a level of shade much greater than is typical for African coffee. Also, by nature of Gishamwana's isolation from other coffee, many diseases and pests quite simply have not made the boat ride over. This coffee is harvested at ripeness, depulped, dry fermented, wet fermented, washed, soaked, then dried on raised beds.” Cafe Imports provided statement and information to Onyx
RWANDA COFFEE HISTORY AND THE DREADED "POTATO":
Rwanda is a rare origin for you to see as a Onyx offering. This is mostly due to the dreaded “potato” defect that used to permeate most of Rwanda’s specialty coffee. By that I mean you may get a disgusting, gut wrenching, moldy potato tasting note every 30 cups or so of coffee, due to a defect caused by the Antestia bug. It was awful and impossible to sort out or escape from it’s pungent flavor and aroma. However, due to research and new agronomy techniques Rwanda has made great strides towards eliminating potato from it’s specialty coffees. This time bomb feeling we use to have with Rwanda retail bags is beginning to be a thing of the past.
Quick overview of Rwanda coffee. Coffee was brought to the area by German missionaries in 1904. The beloved bourbon varietal was planted in the area and coffee was born. In the nineties civil war broke out and devastate the coffee production really until the early 2000’s. Fast forward to the present and things are now looking really bright for both prices and production in Rwanda. We hope this is one of many coffees we start to buy from this country.
This Gishamwana is a perfect example of why it’s important for us to no longer overlook this beautiful country. With its incredibly complex flavor profiles that really add a sweet herbaceous flavor that we have not offered in the past. They tend to showcase lemongrass, sage, black currants, sweet plums, and tangy citrus fruits.
We love this coffee on Chemex. It's extremely easy to control the drain rate and bed depth. Our recipe is 60g of coffee to 1000g of water. Temperature of water is 205ºF, bloom for 30 seconds, and finish brewing at 6 minutes with a large amount of turbulence. Grind size should be medium.
Rwanda Gishamwana Island
This coffee came to us from our friends at Cafe Imports. Joe Marrocco, from Cafe Imports, found this coffee for us, and we think he is one of the best traders on the planet. We paid $5.13/lb green to Cafe Imports for the coffee and it cupped an 87.75. We bought nineteen 69kg GrainPro bags of this green coffee.
- The Coffee Commodity purchase price was $1.38/lb when we purchased these coffees.
- The Fair Trade Coffee minimum purchase price was $1.60/lb when we purchased these coffees.
* We as a company believe transparency is unbelievably important. However, we decided to only list what is shown because we don’t know where to stop. Do we list the amount of coffee lost in roasting due to moisture loss? Should we list our roaster Mark's salary? The warehouse rent? The utilities? The point of listing things above is not to justify what we charge or what we profit, but to give a realistic snapshot of the industry and how Specialty Coffee can be different than other commodity industries. If you have concerns feel free to email us and I’ll write you back when I’m available.
**Direct trade for us means we visited, viewed the operation, approved of the ethics and treatment of staff. It also means, we cupped the coffees and they scored to our standards. Then we paid what the coffee was worth, which is always at least double Fair Trade price and usually even more. We then add a premium on top of the price to go towards social projects in the area or give back some how to the community at large to help cultivate a real relationship with the producer and region. It’s not a certification. There is no governing body that decides when something is direct. Direct trade is marketing, and it means something different for all companies, it is widely abused as well as applauded. We can only say what direct trade means to us.