Rwanda: Nyakizu, Fully Washed Bourbon
In the cup: Sparkling acidity, black tea characteristics with notes of lime and brown sugar.
Cupping Score: 87
Mouthfeel: Light, silky
Process: Fully Washed
Altitude: 2100 metres above sea level
Nyakizu washing station lies deep in the south of Rwanda, close to the border with Burundi, right next to the Nyungwe natural forest. The region is famous for its high potential in coffee production. It shares a lot of the features that make the coffee of the Kayanza province in Burundi so extraordinary. High altitude and rich soils in a favourable climate with plenty of rainfall in marked seasons. The sandy clay soil in the region is more acidic than in other parts of Rwanda and has a rich topsoil with a lot of organic matter.
A gentle humid breeze blows through the valley, which makes a great companion for all the coffee washing stations in the region. This breeze is one of the quality ingredients of Nyakizu coffee: drying the parchment can take up to 35 days! In this high-altitude region, farms lie scattered from 1750 to 2100 meters above sea level.
This lot is a classic washed Bourbon. The quality team at the station pre-sorts the cherries through flotation and visual sorting on ripeness. The approved cherries are collected in the cherry hopper. The depulping machine mechanically removes the cherry skin and some mucilage. To fully remove this mucilage, the parchment ferments in tanks for around 14 to 18 hours. The fermentation time varies with the season. Temperatures are lower at the start of the season, so it takes more time to break down the mucilage.
Next, the washing team pushes the coffee through the washing and grading channel. This separates the parchment in 4 grades, from the heaviest, highest quality to lights and floaters. The parchment keeps this quality separation through the rest of the process. This lot from Nyakizu washing station consists of the heaviest parchment only. All coffee that receives this quality tag passes through an additional 24-soaking before being carried out to the drying field. Nyakizu also has 4 sheds available for an extra visual check on wet parchment. Defectuous beans can be easily detected when the parchment is still wet.
Nyakizu stores the dry parchment in their own storage room until they sell it to their partners, being Rwacof in this case. They take further care of marketing and selling the coffee, as well as preparing it for export.