A few months ago, I scored an opportunity to travel to Rwanda as part of the International Women’s Media Foundation(IWMF) African Great Lakes reporting Fellowship. Though most of my reporting was around agriculture and climate change, I did find sometime in-between to do some fun stuff like going on a coffee tour. This is not to say my reporting work isn’t fun but you know what I mean.
Coffee was introduced to Rwanda as far back as the 1900s by the Germans and has become the country’s main export accounting for a sizeable majority of its foreign revenue. The interesting thing you would find out though is that Rwandans are actually not coffee drinkers. Tea is more their thing. Even the government funded a campaign to get more locals drinking coffee to improve domestic consumption.However regardless of all the international awards and accolades garnered by Rwandan coffee, I think they are rather content with sipping on some tea as I would discover during my tour.
As Kigali is opening its doors to more tourism and foreign investment, there is also a brewing coffee shop culture.
Question Coffee is one of the hip shops in Kigali which also offers tours to a coffee farm and washing station in Kayonza district in the eastern province run by all women led co-operatives. Doing the tour you get to experience the process from start to finish, dance with the farmers and exhaust your palate from coffee sampling. You also get some fragrant freshly roasted robusta coffee to take home with you as well.
Rwanda has a stunning landscape so everything feels quite picturesque. The people are warm, the food is fresh, air is crisp and you can easily find yourself eating your way through Kigali and drinking lots of coffee too.
Picked coffee berries
Women farmers taking a break from the farm for a laugh and some shade
The very effervescent barista and tour guide Dan from Question Coffee joining in the welcome song and dance
Sorting already washed coffee beans to dry