Crisply sweet, intricately layered. Grapefruit, cocoa nib, honeysuckle, white sage, a suggestion of wild mushroom in aroma and cup. Juicy, balanced acidity; velvety-smooth mouthfeel. The sweet-savory finish is flavor-saturated, leading with fruit and floral tones in the short and culminating in umami-toned intrigue with hints of white sage and wild mushroom.
Roast: Dark Medium
Processing: Natural Processed & Dried
Altitude: 1700 - 2100 M.A.S.L.
Harvest: March to May
12 oz. Handcrafted Fair Trade/Organic Coffee
Maraba coffee (Kinyarwanda: Ikawa ya Maraba; French: Café de Maraba) is grown in the Maraba area of southern Rwanda.
Maraba’s coffee plants are the Bourbon variety of the Coffea arabica species and are grown on fertile volcanic soils on high-altitude hills. The fruit is handpicked, mostly during the rainy season between March and May, and brought to a washing station in Maraba, where the coffee beans are extracted and dried. At several stages, the beans are sorted according to quality. The farmers receive credits based on the amount and quality of the beans they provide.
About 2,000 smallholder farmers grow the coffee plants under the Abahuzamugambi cooperative, founded in 1999. Since 2000, the cooperative has been supported by the National University of Rwanda (NUR) and the PEARL. The cooperative has improved coffee quality and penetrated the specialty market.
Abahuzamugambi ba kawa cooperative produce an exemplary crop from 100% Bourbon cultivars. Because of its lower yield, this varietal is not widely commercially produced in the global coffee market, compared to modern varietals. Bourbon is highly noted for the natural sweet fruity flavor attribute and rich silky body. Although Rwanda has grown coffee commercially since the early 1900’s, it was not noted for producing beans of gourmet quality until the initiative of the USAID funded PEARL, project now SPREAD, in 2001.
Union were an early adopter partner with this organization to develop a sustainable commercial relationship with Abahuzamugambi Ba Kawa, bringing their coffee to the attention of the specialty market as Rwanda Maraba Bourbon “World First single origin Rwanda coffee” and “World First Fairtrade produce from Rwanda” in February 2003 in the Comic Relief Red Nose Day campaign. Since then, Rwanda Maraba Bourbon has been heavily cited as the instrument of transformational change, and Rwanda is the new darling for the specialty coffee disciples.
Abahuzamugambi Ba Kawa is known as Maraba because that was the former name of the sector, now renamed Huye. Everyone knows Maraba, and it’s easier to pronounce. It’s comprised of 1200 farmer members, who each have families and children that extent to around 6000 people. Over the years, the success of Maraba has been the beacon to which other co-operatives aspire towards and they’ve demonstrated what can be achieved by “people who work together in coffee” Abahuzamugambi Ba Kawa”.
The Union relationship is not “just a buyer”, but to provide long-term support to Maraba so that farmers we engage with can prosper.
Maraba coffee is grown in the south of Rwanda roughly 12 kilometres (7 mi) from Butare and 150 kilometres (93 mi) from the capital, Kigali. The project began in the Maraba District of Butare Province, but these entities were replaced under local government organisation in 2006, and the area is now part of Huye District in the Southern Province. The area is very hilly, due to its proximity to the Western Rift Valley and the montane Nyungwe Forest, and features rich volcanic soils.The coffee is grown at altitudes between 1,700 and 2,100 metres (5,577–6,889 ft) above sea level, often on steep hillsides with terrace farming. The area experiences an average of 115 centimetres (45 in) of rainfall annually. The majority of this falls during the rainy season of March to May, the major coffee harvesting season. The high altitude lowers the temperature slightly to an average of about 20 °C (68 °F). There is little seasonal variation.
The Union provides:
Much progress has been made at the Co-operative level: purchasing trucks to collect and deliver coffee cherries to washing stations, installation of groundwater treatment facilities to ensure no contamination of the environment and construction of additional coffee washing stations have increased capacity and hence income.