One 12 oz. compostable Biotre bag.
Muzo represents many firsts for all parts of the supply chain. This coffee is the product of a brand new relationship and partnership with a company only in its second year of production. Furthermore, it’s from a coffee producing country that we have never purchased from before and has been imported into the United States for the first time ever! This is our second and final release from Baho Coffee from the 2018 harvest.
After nearly 20 years of experience managing washing stations and implementing quality control protocols throughout Rwanda for a larger exporting company, Emmanuel Rusatira and his family decided to branch out and start their own operations. Now Emmanuel can freely focus all of his energy towards implementing his own philosophies and pushing high quality protocols with 5 different stations. Coffee production in Rwanda works very similarly to Ethiopia - thousands of smallholder farmers deliver cherry to centralized processing stations. At these stations, like Muzo or Fugi, the coffees are fully processed (washed, natural, or honey) and dried on raised beds. Emmanuel is impressively proactive with education and outreach in the stations’ surrounding communities. He works closely with the farmers year round - distributing seedlings, distributing compost, educating on proper growing and picking techniques, giving loans for infrastructure or quality of life investments, and generally being a positive force in the community and friend to all. We are continually inspired by Emmanuel's genuine curiosity, meticulously record keeping, and intense passion for quality and experimentation.
The Muzo washing station is located in the Northern Province of Rwanda, very near Volcanoes National Park and the border of Uganda. The lands surrounding Muzo, in the Gakenke district, are absolutely ideal for coffee growing - altitudes climbing above 2000 meters, dense volcanic soil, and very cool average temperatures. Because of the remote location, there is actually only one other station anywhere near this area, and it is Baho’s smallest station by far. For perspective - his other stations produce anywhere from about 3 - 7 containers (320 60kg bags each), and Muzo only produces half of a container’s worth of coffee per harvest. Unique challenges in this area include drastic mountainous topography and farms that are very spread out and not centralized to the station. Because of these factors, Baho spends a significant amount of time and energy driving around to collect coffee cherries from farmers rather than requiring everyone to deliver to them. Emmanuel has signed a 10 year lease with the Muzo Cooperative to manage the station for them, but he has plans to make big investments here and hopefully purchase in the future. There’s no doubt that Emmanuel’s strict processing protocols play a huge role contributing to the vibrancy and complexity found in the cup. First and foremost, cherries are hand sorted to remove under and over ripe fruit and floatation techniques are used to remove any cherries with particularly low density. After pulping, the coffee undergoes fermentation for ~36 hours in total. Then after a trip through the washing channels for density grading and an additional 12 hour soak in clean water, the coffee finally moves onto the drying tables. Here the coffee is turned methodically every 2 hours. If it’s an especially hot and sunny day, the beds are placed under a shaded shelter to control the drying process and keep it slow and long - 30 to 40 days in total.
We couldn’t be more excited to share this coffee with the world! We’re happy to call Emmanuel our friend and can’t wait to see where this relationship will take us. The body of Muzo is silky and clean with loads of chocolate and brown sugar sweetness. Meanwhile, the acidity is lively and fun - perfect for summertime. We’re tasting: blackberry, plum, hibiscus, fruit punch, fig, plum, chocolate, brown sugar.
* The Potato Defect - This particular defect is known to be a natural occurrence in many central African coffees, particularly those from Rwanda and Burundi. To quickly answer your first question - no, it actually has nothing to do with the root vegetable. It has acquired the name because coffees with this defect smell and taste almost identically to raw potatoes! Once upon a time, it was so widespread that specialty coffee buyers wouldn’t have even considered purchasing coffees from this area. Over the past decade, however, huge strides have been made by research institutes and coffee producers to reduce the occurrence. Though we might never be able to confirm that each lot is 100% free of the defect, meticulously processing has certainly minimized it’s frequency so that it is very rare. If you do come across the defect at home, you’ll almost certainly smell it coming. When grinding a coffee from Rwanda and you’re immediately hit with the distinct fragrance of a freshly peeled potato - don’t panic! If the defect is present, it will only be in certain seeds and not widespread throughout the entire bag. Simply toss those grinds in the trash and try brewing again! You’ll soon be rewarded with a beautifully sweet and complex cup of coffee that will make you forget all about that pesky potato.