Joining our small batch line today, Kilowatt Rwanda is one sweet & juicy coffee. It’s available in one-pound ($22), five-pound ($90 – online only), and bulk coffee options and can be found in our SCC cafes as well as at stonecreekcoffee.com.
Coffee plays a major role in the economy of Rwanda, as the annual quantity produced is around 21,000 metric tons. Of this coffee grown, there are around 400,000 smallholder producers that utilize communal washing stations to streamline their process. 95% of coffee farms grow the Bourbon variety, and Kilowatt is no exception. Additionally, this is a washed process, which is the most common method of processing coffee.
High in the hills of the Nyabihu District, near the famous Virunga Volcanoes National Park, is the Muraho Trading Company’s Shyira coffee washing station. The national park is a chain of volcanoes and the habitat for mountain gorillas. Shyira is the highest altitude washing station in Rwanda at 1850m above sea level. The temperate weather, high altitude, and volcanic soil give the station a microclimate perfect for growing specialty coffee. Intentionally the smallest washing station in Muraho, Shyira, was set up to produce top-quality micro-lots and flavor profiles that have never been found before in Rwanda.
After cherries are brought to the Shyira station, they are pulped by a machine. Once pulped, the cherries then float in fermentation tanks overnight, for 12 hours. Workers at the station then perform “ikinimba,” which consists of singing five songs while dancing and stomping on the coffee to clean off the last of the mucilage. This is intended to bring out more sweetness in the coffee. In the country’s far north, where Ikinimba originated, the dance steps are passed down by generations to celebrate communal favors, such as great harvests. Ikinimba’s significance is a show of strength and stamina. This tradition is a platform for expression which has been celebrated for centuries. Beans are graded, from A1 to A4, using serpentine channels based on density and size. Finally, beans are dried for between 20 and 25 days on raised beds.
The name, Kilowatt, comes from a recent sustainable energy project that has had big impacts on the surrounding people and environment. Electrical energy availability and reliability in the Shyira Sector have been improved by the installation of the Rubagabaga 445 kW hydropower plant. This project won the African Power, Energy, and Water Industry Awards in 2019 for the top Small Scale Sustainable Energy Project (Under 5MW).