Mahembe is a truly exceptional coffee, and it is a unique cornerstone in our Rwandan collection. We visit the farm each summer, and after seven years, we have forged a strong relationship with Justin Musabiyama who runs the washing station. Mahembe has flavour notes of sweet morello cherries, cocoa and spicy nutmeg. The cup has a clean, lasting finish.
Our close relationship with Justin Musabiyama allows us to secure his best lots every season. The certification process his farm went through helped all people involved to be more organised and to establish systems not only for better coffee quality, but also for better procedures at the farm. Whenever we visit Mahembe, what strikes us most is the community feel and positive energy – which naturally comes from the top. Also, the integration of the village and how they are paid in premium pricing helps bringing everything together. Savings at Mahembe are put into sustainability and agronomy programs. The location of this farm is unique. It has a micoclimate of lake and forest, being cooler in the evening and warming up around five in the morning. The lake creates periodical rain while simultaneously absorbing on heat in the afternoon. The Nungwe forest sits at a high elevation and is home to the largest bat concentration.
Rwanda has a long history of coffee production but has only recently seen improvements in processing quality – with the Western Province producing some of the best. Justin returned home after the genocide in 1994 and set to work reviving his family’s coffee farm to help bring stability and economic opportunities to the region. Payment to his farmers includes health insurance, school fees and livestock. Thanks to his strong focus on quality and community building, 75% of what Justin produces is now A1 grade, and he takes a top five position every year during the Cup of Excellence (COE).