Clean and juicy with a little bit of funk. Fruit salad with a creamy chocolate finish
Gisheke coffee washing station (CWS) is the hidden gem of Rwanda. When Gisheke was purchased by Muraho Trading Co. in September 2017 it was very run down and in a state of disrepair. Between February and April 2018, it went through a major makeover in order to become what it is today - a truly stunning and idyllic station for processing top specialty coffees.
What makes Gisheke so special is that it is literally located in between two steep hills that point directly towards Lake Kivu, the beautiful Idjwi Island and their neighbours to the west, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Idjwi Island is the second largest inland island in Africa. This setting makes the wind flow through the station the most ideal for processing and drying quality natural processed coffees.
The only way to get to Gisheke is to hop on a local boat and glide across Lake Kivu. That’s right boat! All the coffee’s that are produced in these Islands are delivered by boat and processed in Gisheke. Around 40% of the coffees processed at Gisheke comes from Mushungwe Island and remainder from its two neighbouring islands.
Gisheke has a total of 69 drying tables, which are managed by 3 full- time staff and 134 casual staff and receives cherry from 787 farmers in the region.
This lot is naturally processed (dried in the skin) and has those sweet, winey and heavy characters associated with well processed naturals from this region. These cherries were initially dried on raised beds for 10 days followed by a few days shade drying before an additional 35 days in the sun.
Coffee Growing in Rwanda
Typically in Africa, one station will buy coffee cherries from many small-holder farmers. The farmers grow other cash crops as well to subsidise their incomes throughout the year. Farmers deliver their cherry to a central washing station and get paid based on weight. Hundreds of individual farmers often contribute to a single station’s yearly production.
These coffees skip the pulping, fermenting and washing stages of the washed coffees and go straight on to the tables. The sun dries the cherry around the bean like a raisin and the cherry ferments around the beans inside. This procedure takes on average 40 – 45 days. After being fully dried they get milled to remove the remaining dried skin. Typically naturals have lots of funky fruity flavours and high sweetness.
These long drying times are a huge factor in how these coffees age once they are sold and transported as green. The slow decrease in the moisture content of the coffee as it dries plays a major role in making sure these coffees retain their vibrant character. That and the consistent climates are absolutely essential for producing specialty grade coffees.
Coffee is turned every hour during the day. All the while, casual workers consistently hand sort cherry as it dries removing damaged cherry or discoloured pods. Once dry, the pods have a raisin like textured skin, are dark brown, almost black, and have a shiny gloss coating.