Rwanda – Tumba Natural

 16.15 96.88

Country: Rwanda
Region: Rulindo district, Northern Province
Altitude: 1776 m.a.s.l.
Variety: Red Bourbon
Processing: washed
Taste profile: pineapple juice, dried physalis, nutmeg

In the heart of Africa, in the northern part of Rwanda, lies the Tumba processing station. The road from Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, to Tumba winds high up into the mountains, revealing a breathtaking landscape of vivid green hills dotted with farms as far as the eye can see. Hundreds of dedicated smallholder farmers bring ripe coffee cherries here for processing.
The coffee they’ve harvested for us tastes like spicy pineapple juice.


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PRODUCER

Located at 1776 meters above sea level in the Rulindo District of Rwanda’s Northern Province, the Tumba washing station lies just beyond the boundaries of the quaint town of Mukoto. Occupying a mere 1.2 hectares, the station, operational since 2008, houses a year-round team of 12 full-time staff and approximately 95 seasonal workers during the peak harvest months. At the heart of Tumba’s operation lies its dedicated smallholder farmers. For the 2022 production season, around 1650 local farmers contributed their harvested coffee cherries to the station, culminating in an impressive yield of 290,000 kilograms of processed cherry. Vanuste Mugitaneza, a former primary school teacher, is the station manager at Tumba. His ability to pay attention to the finest details, a trait honed during his teaching days, contributes to Tumba being one of the most straightforward yet pristine stations to visit. The quality of coffee produced under Venuste’s watchful supervision consistently stands out, carving a niche for itself among an array of excellent coffees.

PROCESSING

The cherries are carefully received and sorted to remove defective and unripe ones. The crucial sorting phase takes place in water tanks, where the floaters – cherries that float on the surface – are separated. Those with the highest quality have high density and sink to the bottom of the tank. The sorted coffee is then pulped using mechanical pulpers. Central to the processing at Tumba is the use of specially designed raised drying beds. Drawing inspiration from traditional African structures, these beds boost airflow around the drying Parchment, promoting a more uniform drying process. During this critical stage, the parchment is consistently turned to prevent degradation and damaged or sub par are removed. After drying sufficiently (15-17 days), the parchment that covers and protects the bean is mechanically stripped off, revealing the raw, green coffee beans. Following the drying and removal process, these green coffee beans are carefully stored under optimal conditions.

VARIETY

Red Bourbon is one of the most well-known and beloved coffee varieties, renowned for its exceptional quality and flavor. Originating from the island of Bourbon (now Réunion), this variety was introduced to various parts of the world, including Rwanda, in the 19th century. The coffee cherries of Red Bourbon typically exhibit an intense red color, which is one of the reasons why this variety is named “red.” Characterized by its delicate and balanced taste, Red Bourbon offers notes of chocolate, fruity undertones, and a sweet caramel finish.


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