STORY:

“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...

Read More

Rwanda Gishamwana Island - 5 lbs.

Rwanda Gishamwana Island is on Lake Kivu, which is one of the African Great Lakes. It lies on the border between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda. On that island is a beautiful private coffee estate owned by Emmanuel Rwakagara. His coffees have incredible delicate herbaceous notes, and sweet floral citrus flavors that present some of the best Rwanda has to offer.

Origin: Rwanda

Region: Lake Kivu

Farm: Gishamwana Island

Process: Washed, Raised Drying Beds

Elevation: 1600 Meters

Varietal: Bourbon

Producer: Emmanuel Rwakagara

Cup: Floral, Lemongrass, Tangy Citrus, Brown Sugar

$ 102
Back To Product

STORY:

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. 

 

SUGGESTED USE:

This coffee has some fascinating flavor notes. I really do prefer this coffee on any pour over device, and specifically, the kalita wave. When brewed, the floral flavors are right on the nose. The brown sugar note is persistent from start to finish. The body is silky in texture. The finish, though, is my absolute favorite of almost any coffee offering this year. It has a pure and lingering lemongrass note that is unique to this coffee.

Try 25 grams of coffee, and 400 grams of water on a medium grind setting (follow this recipe in our brewing instructional). The thing to note about this coffee is it's flow rate. The first half of the brewing time will feel very quick, but then the coffee will slow way down, especially during the drain. Expect your pulses to be semi-quick. You'll be finished pouring by 1:35, but the drain will take nearly 1:30 minutes. So, you'll be done by 3:00-3:15. Watch the drain in the bottom of the kalita! It should be one steady stream the whole time. If it starts to drip out of the kalita near the end of the drain, coarsen up the grind a notch or two! Enjoy this unique coffee.

 

TRANSPARENCY:

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 only to list what is shown here 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. 

- Jon

 

RELATIONSHIP COFFEE

 

Relationship Coffee is an initiative we have purposely created to describe our sourcing and buying practices and how we document them.  Terms like Direct Trade, Fair Trade, and other certifications have impacted the coffee communities in mostly positive but also in some negative ways. We find that blanket terms applying to a multitude of business models no longer describes what we do. 

In reality, every company is different, and we wanted to step out from the mold and create a new set of standards that exceeds in every department from quality to transparency to price.  The growers, exporters, importers, associations, cooperatives, and other entities are always a set of relationships.  To be honest, many are our friends as much as they are our producers and partners.  We share information, family news, meals, housing, many faiths, and argue politics. Oh, and we love it.  Relationship coffee for Onyx is the mark of an honest exchange ethos that permeates our company, and we hope it encourages the growth of specialty coffee for the future.

 

GOALS

 

  • We visited the farm or cupping lab and listened to the producer/agronomist or head cooperative/association to ascertain better knowledge about the culture and practices.
  • We cupped the coffee and it scored to our industry-high standards.
  • We do not buy futures or multiple harvests to ensure that what we cupped for that year is what we serve.
  • We do not ask for exclusivity from producers, binding their options.
  • We pay what the coffee is worth.  This always is at least double Fair Trade minimum due to the quality we buy, and many times is three to ten times the amount.
  • We do not finance any coffee.  Cash flow is just as important as final price.  Coffee is paid in full upon delivery and we pay a percentage upfront upon contracting. 
  • We are completely transparent from price to logistics to cupping score, to who we work with buying and shipping coffee.
  • We work to set premiums after a contracted price to incentivize quality and community building.  This can be $.10 - $.25 extra per pound or community projects such as school supplies in the growing village, sports jerseys, vented chimneys for kitchen fires etc.

 

Pairs Well With