Rwanda Mutovu Video Tour: Incremental Improvements, a Competition-Level Cup
February 14, 2020
With new-crop 2020 Rwanda's finally here, we see the return of Rwanda Nyamasheke Mutovu, a coffee we've been lucky enough to buy every year since they started up in 2012. Why do we consider ouselves "lucky", you ask? To start, Mutovu is one of the most consistent Rwandan coffee processing stations we buy from and each year's coffee scores at the upper range of our entire Rwandan volume. But luck has little to do with their consistency as coffee producers and their meticulous process and improvements made at the washing station are apparent with each visit.
Mutovu has been around for nearly a decade and is located in the Nyamasheke District near Nyungwe National Forest. The processing site sits at 1750 meters and the coffee is grown up to about 1900. It started out as a small cooperative owned by only a few local farmers who processed their own coffee as well as bought coffee from other farmers in the region. Mutovu sold a few years back to a private coffee company, though operation is still under the management of the local community.
A shot from our very first visit to Mutovu cooperative when it started in 2012
Mutovu coffee shows some of what we consider to be archetypal Rwandan coffee flavors (these apply to Burundi too); complex baking spice and tea notes, stone fruit and raw sugar sweetness. The varietal grown is Bourbon, which we know that when grown at high altitudes has greater potential for sweetness. The seeds are dense too, which lends to roast versatility and a coffee that functions well in many different brew applications. All of these details factor into a competition-level coffee no matter what the origin!
Tom put together a short video from his last visit to Mutovu in May, 2019. He shows us Mutovu's workflow from whole cherry to coffee drying on the beds and shares his thoughts on how small improvements at the mill have made a big impact on the cup. This year Mutovu met the criteria to become C.A.F.E. Practices certified by Starbucks, which has meant an added layer of quality control, increased level of financial transparency and commitment to environmental stewardship and community.
Here's a video of a blind tasting of last year's Rwanda and Burundi coffees to see how they compare to coffees from Latin America. Check it out if you're into surprises (hint: score doesn't always follow price).