Today, I am visiting Rusiga hills in Rulindo District. I am here to trace the genesis of the beverage I can’t do without. If you have been following this grand tour of Rwanda, you must be aware of its frequent coffee breaks. It is during these caffeine-infused pauses when blogging is done.
Rwandans started growing coffee in the early 1900s. Most beans produced in the country are either bourbon or bourbon-derivative. There are more than 400,000 coffee farms in the country, covering an area of more than 42,000 hectares. Annual production ranges from 267,000 to 420,000 bags.
A coffee plant produces its first fruit-bearing flowers three to four years after planting. The fruits are commonly known as cherries. Harvesting takes place when green cherries turn red.
Beans are extracted from cherries during processing. We call them beans because of their resemblance to legumes. Technically, they are seeds. Wet processing, also known as washing, is common in Rwanda. A lot of water is used in the process. After washing, wet beans are spread out on open air patios. This method of drying is aided by the sun.
Coffee production is an intriguing process. My host, Rusiga Highland Resort, is offering hands-on coffee experiences. It is in this resort’s farm where today’s study tour is taking place.
The author is a travel enthusiast on a tour of all 30 districts of Rwanda. Follow his awe-inspiring expeditions on Twitter @GeoExposure.