This month we are able to release coffees from Muraho Trading Co. for the first time.
Muraho was founded by two brothers, Carthick and Gaudam Anbalagam.
Carthick and Gaudam have since guided Muraho to become the source of some of the most exciting and innovative coffee in Rwanda
This pack showcases both their mastery of traditional Rwandan lots, and their push for new expressions.
The first coffee is a traditional washed lot from the Vunga washing station in Nyabihu, with aromatic citrus and floral character.
The second is an experimental anaerobic lot from the Gisheke station, rich and driven by tropical fruit and soft berries.
1 x coffee
Vunga - Washed Bourbon (250g / 5.3oz)
2 x coffee
Vunga - Washed Bourbon (250g /
Gisheke - Anaerobic Bourbon (250g / 5.3oz)
This month at La Cabra, we continue to be very busy in the roastery. Samples from our partners across the coffee belt are coming in thick and fast, and Zoom calls are commonplace as we maintain our long distance relationships in a reality where travel is so restricted. We look forward first to arrivals from Cafe Granja La Esperanza in Colombia and Primavera in Guatemala in the coming weeks. We are also very excited about our new bakery in Aarhus, which will be opening on the 6th of May. The possibilities that this new space allows our talented team will really take their work to the next level. We have also recently announced our new project in New York. Building has started on our first location in the East Village, finally bringing fresh Scandinavian design and bright coffees to one of our favourite cities in the world.
We feel that this is a fitting comparison for our first subscription together with Muraho Trading Co. and Hobe Coffee. The clean and delicate flavours of Vunga illustrate Muraho’s skill in producing excellent examples of the coffees we expect to see from Rwanda, while Gisheke showcases their excited and genuinely passionate approach to innovation in coffee. We hope you enjoy this contrast this month.
Vunga - Washed Bourbon
Aromatic citrus notes from Rwanda
Look for: Bergamot, Black Tea and Honey
(250g / 8.8oz)
The Vunga station, located in the Nyabihu region, is one of the smallest that Muraho works with, and only began collaborating with the project in 2017. The cooperative itself was founded in 2009, and has consistently produced very high quality coffees since, even placing in the national finals of the Cup of Excellence in both 2012 and 2014. When Muraho began working with the station, they looked to improve the infrastructure and systems, in order to help the members to maximise both their profit and quality. For instance, new washing channels were built for the 2018 harvest, allowing both more efficiency and more precise sorting during processing. This paid off almost instantly, the first year working together with Muraho was a record year for the station, producing over 200 tonnes of specialty lots. Vunga is unfortunately in an area rather prone to flooding, and was badly affected just last year, with large parts of the station infrastructure destroyed. A crowdfunding effort was set up, supported by the coffee community, meaning that Vunga was able to rebuild and process coffee again in 2020, including this lot. Vunga is known for its very clean washed coffees, with clear citrus notes and floral aromas, closer to an Ethiopian profile than we have previously seen in Rwanda.
Gisheke - Anaerobic Bourbon
Experimental anaerobic process
Look for: Mango, Passionfruit and Strawberry
(250g / 8.8oz)
The second coffee this month comes from the Gisheke station, further south on the shores of Lake Kivu. Gisheke is approximately twice the size of Vunga, and also a rather new station for Muraho, having been purchased in 2017 and majorly refurbished in time for the 2018 harvest. It has quickly become one of Muraho’s most loved stations, due in no small part to its stunning location, nestled in a valley overlooking Lake Kivu and Idjwi island, the second largest inland island in Africa. In fact the only way to reach the station is by boat, and 40% of the coffee processed here is grown on another nearby island, Mushungwe. The location in the valley also leads to a key aspect of Gisheke; the perfect conditions for producing high quality natural coffees. The cool winds that flow up the valley from the lake make it possible to dry coffees in a controlled and consistent manner, making this an ideal place to experiment with processing, as Muraho did with this lot. Similar to the Bukeye FFS lot we purchased from the Long Miles project just across the border in Burundi, this lot was put together from a selected group of trusted farmers, who have been working with Muraho for several harvests. The aim here was to start with cherries of the highest possible Brix level, a measure of the sugar content. The producers were asked to pick cherries at absolute peak ripeness, aiming for the most mature stage of harvest. This means more fuel for the fermentation, leading to increased intensity, complexity and of course sweetness in the final cup. These carefully selected cherries were then fermented under a tight plastic sheet, with water poured on top in order to ensure a seal and maintain anaerobic conditions. Using water as a seal means that any oxygen present is allowed to escape, but cannot reenter the fermentation tank. After 48 hours, the plastic sheeting was pierced, allowing the water to flow over the cherries, cooling them and slowing the fermentation. The cherries were then spread out under the sun, drying them to a point where fermentation is stopped, before gradually building deeper layers in order to slow down the overall drying time to around 35 days. This leads to a much more rich profile than the Vunga, driven by aromatic tropical fruit and soft berries.
This month, we are able to share coffees from Muraho Trading Co of Rwanda for the first time. Although we haven’t purchased many Rwandan lots in the past, we have been aware of Muraho for several years now, having tasted their coffees roasted by many colleagues we admire, mainly in the southern hemisphere and the UK, but also closer to home. The coffees that Muraho produce are quite simply some of the best Rwandan lots we have tasted at La Cabra, and Gaudam and Carthick Anbalagan, the brothers that run the project, are among the most innovative producers in the country. We have been able to purchase these two limited lots, one of which is exclusive to subscribers, thanks to our friends from Hobe Coffee, who have a long term relationship with Gaudam and Carthick, stemming back to their time living in New Zealand.
Gaudam and Carthick were brought up in Rwanda but moved to Wellington, New Zealand as teenagers. However, when they became adults, they felt the pull back to the land they had always called home. After the devastating effect that the 1994 Genocide had on the country, the brothers felt they had to return and be part of rebuilding and recovering Rwanda. So they left life in New Zealand behind, moved back to Rwanda, and started work on the project that became Muraho. Since then they have gone from strength to strength, and now own several stations throughout the coffee producing regions of Rwanda, exporting coffee to some of the world’s finest roasters. They have also innovated, having been the first to produce and export naturally processed coffees from Rwanda in 2016, after lobbying for government permission for several years. This month we are excited to have the opportunity to share two examples of Muraho’s fine work; the clean and juicy Vunga, showcasing the washed process cornerstone of Muraho, while the wild and rich Gisheke is an example of their constant push for new and exciting interpretations of Rwandan terroir.
We feel that this is a fitting comparison for our first subscription together with Muraho and
Hobe. The clean and delicate flavours of Vunga illustrate Muraho’s skill in producing excellent
examples of the coffees we expect to see from Rwanda, while Gisheke showcases their excited and
genuinely passionate approach to innovation in coffee. We hope you enjoy this contrast this
Our Discovery Subscription allows us the opportunity to share new experiences with you every month, taking you with us on our journey through the changing seasons of coffee. This allows you the opportunity to taste new lots from across the coffee landscape as they arrive at our roastery, when they’re fresh and in season. We strive to find the most delicious and thought-provoking coffees we can get our hands on, working together with a group of innovative and dedicated partners we have met over our years in the industry. We are inspired not only by sharing their painstakingly created raw material, but by conveying how each step of its journey has led to what you find in your cup, be it terroir, varietal, post-harvest processing, or something else entirely.
One of the best ways to appreciate the effect of these factors is to taste coffees side by side.
Our most popular option allows you to experience two coffees every month, maybe different
varietals or processes from the same farm or region, or maybe two parallel lots from producers
at opposite ends of the coffee belt. We always aim to tell a story with our coffee choice,
focusing on a different aspect of what we’re finding exciting in coffee right now. Sharing these
experiences each month allows us to expand our coffee horizons together, and develop a shared
vocabulary within both taste and preference in coffee.
We’re always happy to continue our conversation with you through our webshop portal, whether it be purely practical, or discussions about this month’s coffees. We see our role as simply a middleman between you and some of the best coffees in the world, and the people who produce them. These people inspire us, and we do our utmost to share both their coffees and their stories with the people who appreciate them most.