Rwanda Origin Trip 2023

Rwanda Origin Trip 2023

Hi, David here! Almost a year ago, in May 2023, I had the chance to visit Rwanda together with one of our importing partners, “Raw Material”, and a group of roasters and green buyers from the UK. Muraho Trading Company, the people behind the operations at origin, showed us to the washing stations and the dry mill they operate. Originally we meant to drive to Burundi as well, but following some heavy rainfalls in the area, the streets hadn’t been cleared yet.

But there was more than enough to see and do in Rwanda. We started our trip in the capital city, Kigali. 

Getting a glimpse into what took place during the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi was truly shocking and deeply saddening. The Kigali Genocide Memorial gave an account of the atrocities that took place during that time. It also shed a hopeful light on the future and showed how far the country had come since then.  

The following day we started our journey into the mountains. Located only about an hour away (it felt more like two, according to my weak stomach) we arrived at the Bumbogo washing station. After a warm welcome we were shown around the facility and got a glimpse into some of the processes. Some of us even got to “help” with the agitation of the de-pulped parchment in the fermentation tank - we had a barefoot dance-party stomping coffee. Where fun meets hard work! Afterward we got to wash the coffee and turn the drying naturals on the drying beds (they have 203!). It was lots of fun, pretending to work here. Honestly though it gave me a new appreciation for the hard work that goes into the processing of coffee.

In the days to come we visited the washing stations Kilimbi, Gisheke and Cyeshe. They’re located close to lake Kivu and we took a small boat to travel in between them. We even got into a little rainstorm that left us completely drenched. 

Our last stop was Rugali dry mill. This is the heart of MHTs operations in Rwanda. The milling - from parchment to green coffee - requires fine-tuned machinery. Different stages of cleaning, de-stoning, de-hulling, polishing, colour-sorting… as well as a final round of hand-sorting result in the outstanding quality of coffee we can so often take for granted. Thinking back to this experience truly gives me a new appreciation for the green coffee we get to work with. 

As we get to cupping fresh lots from the different washing stations, the coffee from Bumbogo, our first stop, stands out to me. Great quality, fruity with layered medium acidity, as well as earthy notes and caramel. It reminds me of the rich soil and lush vegetation surrounding the washing stations.

We were very lucky to be able to reserve two lots from Bumbogo. One is washed, and one natural. We’re about to release the natural, I can’t wait to share this coffee with you. 

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