Today I’m excited to announce the latest bean on the menu - all the way from Rwanda, the latest Inzovu Project harvest!
The Inzovu Project was initiated by exporter RTC who invests directly into regional washing stations while providing farms with technical agronomy support. On a given year, coffees from over 25,000 smallholder farmers (with an average of only 200 trees) will submit their crop for consideration. Should their coffee reach the strict quality requirements, then the farmers can achieve high specialty coffee prices for their hard work (as they have with the beans we’re offering).
The support from experts like RTC means that higher numbers of farmers can achieve high prices in the long term (much higher than Fair Trade) because the product is of higher quality. This is the typical approach of thoughtful specialty coffee buying - the use of experts in the field to help improve quality, which then increases price (dramatically). Once the farmers are empowered with the skills and knowledge, they can reap the rewards for the rest of their lives.
The Inzovu Project comes from the Western Provence of Rwanda which is characterised by rich and fertile volcanic soil and altitudes between 1200 to 1800 meters above sea level across all of the farms. For nerds, the varieties are Red Bourbon & Typica.
The harvest takes place from May all the way through to August. After the cherry has been harvested, it’s brought into a washing station for processing. The coffee is graded, milled, hand sorted and sun-dried on tables. Inzovu comes from many different wet mills including the Coffee Villages, Gasange, Gitesi, Izere, Karama, Kigembe, Kirezi, Mahembe, Mayogi, Mukindo, Mutovu, Mwasa and Nasho. Try saying those quickly.
This is a washed lot meaning that after the cherry is harvested, immature green cherries are picked out and over-ripe cherries are separated in floatation tanks. Pulped parchment is fermented for 24-48 hours depending on the local weather conditions at the time. Then the clean washed parchment is set aside for drying. All the coffees are dried on raised beds anywhere from 15-22 days prior to dry milling in Kigali.
So it’s a lot of work, right?