Skip to content

Muzo Ikizere

Regular price $19.00

In stock

Overview 

For our first natural processed Rwanda offering of the year, we’re welcoming back a selection from the Muzo station for the fifth consecutive season! We’ve been working with Baho Coffee to hone our focus primarily on smaller lot separations. This specific offering consists of coffees collected from 10 smallholders that are a part of the new Ikizere producer group at Muzo. Meaning confidence in Kinyarwanda, Ikizere is a group is composed of widowed women and single mothers who share the unique challenges of navigating traditionally patriarchal systems.

The Muzo washing station is located in the Northern Province of Rwanda, 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 are actually only a small handful of other stations near this area, and it is additionally Baho’s smallest station by far.  For perspective, Emmanuel’s other stations produce anywhere from about 900 - 2000 60kg bags of green coffee per year; Muzo produces just around 300 bags.  Unique challenges in this area include drastic mountainous topography and farms that are spread out and not centralized to the station.  Because of these factors, Muzo employees spend a significant amount of time driving around to collect coffee cherries from farmers rather than requiring everyone to deliver to them.

This natural processed offerings from the Muzo Ikizere group is absolutely classic. Jammy cooked berries and dried fruits sync harmoniously with a hefty dose of dessert-like brown sugar and milk chocolate sweetness. The coffee is full, sweet, complex, and comforting. We’re tasting: mulled wine, cherry pie, plum, date, raisin, coconut, brown sugar, sugarcane, baking spices, black tea, milk chocolate.

Relationship 

This is our sixth consecutive year purchasing from Emmanuel Rusatira and his private exporting company, Baho Coffee.  Our relationship has evolved into the closest 1000 Faces has come to a fully direct trade relationship.  Our Director of Coffee formed his own company in 2019, Sundog Trading, and partnered with Emmanuel to begin importing Baho coffees  into North America. We’re excited to be early supporters of the project and can’t wait to see where this relationship takes us in the future. 

After nearly 20 years of experience establishing and managing washing stations throughout Rwanda for a large export company, Emmanuel Rusatira and his family decided to branch out and start their own operations.  Establishing Baho Coffee allowed him to freely focus his energy towards implementing his personal philosophies and pushing high quality protocols with his own privately owned stations.  Emmanuel is impressively proactive with education and outreach.  He works closely with producers year round - distributing seedlings, 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. 

Over the past few years, we’ve seen the Ikizere project grow quickly from just around 20 growers at the Fugi station to now 100+ women with representation at each station that our importing partner, Sundog Trading, works with. Baho is heavily investing in support for this group via access to financial education, providing short term loans, and establishing clean water lines in specific communities. Emmanuel plays an active role here by arranging meetings each season to discuss their needs beyond coffee. Because of the overwhelming success of the program, they’re all making significant improvements to their farms and investing in growing their operations. In addition to planting new coffee seedlings, many are strategically planting shade trees and using compost fertilizers as well.

Historically, coffee from the 950 farmers delivering to Fugi would have been grouped into large, station-level lots.  Thanks to the increased traceability and smaller lot separations that Baho was able to establish the past few seasons, we’re thrilled to be able to publicly recognize the specific producers who grew the coffee that make up this offering. This is a first step in building a transparent and equitable relationship with groups of growers that we hope will deliver to Fugi for many years to come.

BIBIANE MUKAMBUGUJE 

REGINE NYIRABAHINDE 

TRIPHINE AKIMANIMPAYE 

COSTASIE MUKAMANA 

LOUISE MUKANOHERI 

VERENA MUKAGATERA 

MARGUARTE UWIMANA 

PURIQUERIE INGABIRE 

DONATHA NYIRANKURIKIYINKA 

VESTINE NYIRAMAJYAMBERE

Processing

Coffee production in Rwanda works very similarly to most other countries in Africa - thousands of smallholder farmers deliver cherries to centralized processing stations.  At these stations, the coffees are fully processed and dried on raised beds.  Upon time for export, parchment is transported to the capital city of Kigali where it is dry milled, further sorted, and prepped for export.

When cherries arrive at the station, they’re intensively sorted to remove any visible defects or under/over ripe fruits. The cherries are then floated to remove the less dense, lower quality fruits.  The highest quality cherries are then spread out onto raised beds to begin the drying process. Cherries are turned frequently, and weather conditions are closely monitored throughout the day. If certain temperature thresholds are exceeded, workers will cover the beds with mesh netting to cool down the environment. This focus on thin layers, coupled with frequent turning and temperature monitoring, is to ensure that the flavors remain clean and free from over-fermentation or mold defects. When the moisture content reaches the target of 10.5 - 11.0%, the drying phase is considered complete.  Total drying time for this lot was 36 days. 

Emmanuel often compares his drying methods to that of a low and slow style of cooking. Generally speaking, particularly with grilling meat or simmering a stew, cooking gently with a low heat for a long period of time will produce an end product with more cohesive, sweet, saturated flavors. He explains: “When you take meat and you put it on charcoal, after 20 min you have your meat ready. But in an oven, it would take 45 minutes. If you put it in hot ash, it may take two hours. When you taste these three meats, there's a difference in the taste. I have this kind of thinking that coffees that dry slowly, the taste and lifespan of this coffee may be longer and more delicious than the coffee that dries for 10-12 days in sun.”

Brewing

Our natural processed coffees from Rwanda generally extract quite easily and quickly.  Because of this, you’ll want to use a relatively coarse grind size for brewing.  This will help keep the coffee tasting bright, clean, and transparent.  In the ideal brew, you’ll find a balance of tart, jammy fruit flavors mixed with a rich, dessert-like sweetness. 

If your coffee tastes thin, tart, and lacking sweetness - like lemon or under ripe plum - try grinding finer.

If your coffee tastes cloying, intense, and bitter - like cacao or over steeped black tea - try grinding coarser.

Roasting Schedule

We roast on Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, and fulfill orders on Monday, Wednesday, Friday.  Orders will always ship within 1 - 4 days of roasting. Orders placed after Wednesday at 11:59pm Eastern will be fulfilled on the following Monday.

Nap Time

Roasted coffee thrives after a brief rest period! Flavors will evolve and become more expressive (i.e. delicious) over time as carbon dioxide escapes from the dense cell walls. We recommend aiming to brew our coffees a minimum of 1 week out from the roast date.

Proper Storage

Our bags feature a resealable zipper, making them the perfect storage vessel. Heat, moisture, and light, are all enemies to coffee and will speed up the aging process. We recommend simply storing in a cool, dry, dark place.

Bag Disposal

Our retail bags are fully compostable! We've also established a local return program in our cafe where you'll receive discounts on future bag purchases.

Search

Main menu

Back to top