Almost two years ago, two folks named Kenny and Julia showed up at our coffee bar. Kenny was from Rwanda and they were looking to establish a sustainable coffee exporting business focused on Rwandan coffee. They were both on a trip across the US to interview various roasting companies for market research, and swung by to talk to us. In their words, "sustainable” means both paying everyone well (farmers, washing station employees, exporters) and supporting businesses that have invested long-term in the community. He expressed that he had seen a lot of coffee businesses in Rwanda that were either not economically viable or were geared towards the buyers and that had no roots in the community. So, they founded Higa Coffee. Julia has since focused on becoming a Q-grader and both of them now cup coffees from different local producers and partners on a regular basis.
One of these partners was the Kilimbi washing station. Kilimbi is a smaller washing station, but a very impressive one, so much so that it has already won a Cup of Excellence award even though it was only founded in 2016. Although the lot we selected is a washed-process one, it's worth noting that the manager, Joseph Ntarindwa, has extensive experience with experimental coffee processing methods. His station was the first in Rwanda to be given the rights to export natural-processed and honey-processed coffees. He is also an agronomist, and in that role he provides farmers surrounding the station with agricultural support before and after each harvest. This helps them secure, process and produce high quality coffee year after year. In the coming harvests, we look forward to the opportunity to highlight some of the other processing methods that Kilimbi has to offer.
This coffee is an exceptional representation of high quality honey processed coffees. WIth flavors of peach tea, floral honey, some blood orange citrus like acidity, and held together with a silky sweet body.