Kawa - France 🇫🇷

Mystery Coffee

🇷🇼 Rwanda Shyira

Region: Nyamasheke
Variety: Red Bourbon
Processing: Anoxic Washed
Altitude: 2000+ masl
Tasting notes: orange, hibiscus, raspberry
Harvest: Winter 2022

About the coffee:

Built in 2017, Shyira Washing Station is a station situated at 2000 MASL, collecting cherry from neighbouring producers that live between 2000 - 2400 MASL. This is the highest grown coffee we know of in Rwanda, and it’s from a region where very few washing stations are located, making it somewhat unique.

It also happens to be located in one of the most stunning areas in Rwanda. It has a river running through the base of the station making water access no issue.

All cherry is hand-sorted before a pre-pulp float, underripe or damaged cherry is removed, along with any foreign objects. Next, cherry is floated in pre-pulping tanks removing any floaters and then pulped. Coffee is later fermented in dedicated concrete fermentation tanks for an average of 8 hours. During this time the ferment parchment is agitated several times throughout the day by way of ceremonial foot-stomping. 

Once cherries are received, they are hand-picked and floated to ensure only those of the best quality continue to the processing stage. These cherries are placed into a deep cleaned fermentation tank. A sheet is then placed over the cherries, which is then submerged with cool water. The seal created by the water pressing onto the sheeting creates a vacuum effect on the coffee below, creating an anoxic environment for fermentation to begin, which lasts for 48 hours. 

The water and sheet act as not only a sealant, but a heat exchange, allowing the heat build up to transfer to the water, which evaporates away. A stabilised temperature of around 25 degrees Celsius ensures that the cherry doesn’t over ferment. This temperature is regularly monitored, and if it falls too low for fermentation to continue, hot water is added to the water pillow, to provide warmth to the fermenting coffee underneath.

Once the fermentation is complete, the water is drained, and the sheet is removed. The now fermented coffee is rinsed and drained of all residual liquid. For the washing process to continue, the cherries are pulped, and the exposed beans are washed and graded.

About the selection:

This month was coordinated by Judy.

Before Hugues from Kawa contacted me I already knew diversity in the origin of this month’s Mystery would be an important selection criterium for me. While we’ve had some amazing Mystery coffees recently I realised half of them in the past year have been from Colombia, and all of them were from South & Central America. Last year an anoxic Rwanda coffee was elected as our favourite coffee of the month, so my I must admit when this appeared in Kawa’s shortlist of possible Mystery coffees besides a few from South America, I was already somewhat biased.

I received samples and the choice was narrowed down to a delicious thermal shock Colombian (not Diego) and this anoxic Rwandan. The sample stood out to me in blind side-by-side cuppings with other coffees for its clean fruitiness which I really liked. While the process is anoxic Hugues described the coffee as ‘still typical of Rwanda terroir’, so I figured this coffee would also present a nice skill test in recognising te origin. When some people started mentioning ‘potato’ I thought the cover of this Mystery’s origin might be blown, but thankfully that didn’t happen (at least not for everyone). I hope you guys enjoyed the coffee and enjoyed the guesswork as well!

Coffee of the Month

🇨🇴 Colombia Nestor Lasso

Region: Huila
Variety: Chiroso
Processing: Washed
Altitude: 1800+ masl
Tasting notes: grapefruit, orange, mint
Harvest: 2022