Huye Mountain - Rwanda

Origin Huye Mountain, Huye District, Southern Province
Altitude 1,600-2,300 MASL
Variety Red Bourbon
Process Natural
Raspberry, Clove, Cognac

Huye Mountain sprung to international fame with the release of 2014’s ‘A Film About Coffee’. The film tells the story of David Rubanzangabo who established the Huye Mountain washing station in 2011 with the aim of improving the quality of coffee grown in the region and consequently the plight of the smallholder farmers who grow it.

We met David at Huye Mountain in 2017 and were hugely impressed by the processes he has implemented to ensure that the coffee produced is of the highest quality. His drive for quality has brought about a big increase in the prices paid to local farmers. To encourage consistency of quality, David awards members whose coffees carry the highest cupping scores with prizes of cows (40 winners last year) and goats (60 winners last year). Such prizes make a huge difference to the lives of a farmers and their families as the animals will provide milk for around 6 years and a constant supply of organic fertiliser for the coffee trees.

During harvest season, Huye Mountain receives coffee cherry deliveries from around 1,330 producers. Typically, a smallholding in the district is just a quarter of a hectare in size (around 200 trees), and each farm produces roughly only 2 bags of coffee. The coffee grown is entirely red bourbon, which, coupled with the high altitudes (1,600 to 2,300m), delivers beautiful, complex flavours in the cup.

Historically all of the coffee at Huye Mountain was washed process, but in 2018 they started to experiment with natural and honey processes. The natural process employed at Huye Mountain involves meticulous cherry selection and hand sorting prior to drying. Drying is done on raised African beds for between 14 and 28 days, depending on the weather. The coffee is turned regularly during this time to ensure it remains free of mould and over-fermentation.

As per last year, the results are absolutely stunning. In the cup this coffee is big in body, warming, and full of fruit flavour. It is incredibly clean for a natural processed coffee with a pointed raspberry acidity and a subtle cognac booziness, alongside notes of clove, orange and ginger.

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