MEET THE NEWEST NATURAL COFFEE ON OUR ROSTER: GASHARU…
We’ve used its washed-processed counterpart in blends, and now it’s time to let this natural version shine. Natural coffees are made by drying the coffee with the cherry still intact, soaking it in the fruit during fermentation (different from the washed process that removes the fruit and washes the mucilage from the seed prior to drying). While the process started in Ethiopia because of limited access to water and the dry climate, it’s gained popularity in coffee-growing regions around the world — including in Rwanda.
Located near the Nyungwe National Park, Gasharu benefits from the region’s above-average rainfall, which makes the cherries juicy and the coffee fruity. The cherries selected for this lot come from 1700-2100 meters above sea level and undergo intense sorting at the pre-drying tables and floating, and only the best beans are dried on the raised wooden beds for four to six weeks. Once dried, the coffee is temporarily stored before being hulled and sorted.
The story of Gasharu Coffee dates back to the 1970s when teenager Celestin Rumenerangabo bought land to support his family. He planted his first 380 coffee trees and quickly expanded his local business, partnering with other local coffee farmers in the process. Tragically, the 1994 genocide of Tutsis devastated his community, and the family had to flee violence, only returning to their home country years later.
Since returning, the resilient family established Gasharu and Muhororo Coffee stations and have slowly rebuilt relationships with roasters and retailers. Now, they’re on a mission to make Gasharu Coffee Company a model for their community by producing high-quality Rwanda coffee, investing in social development projects, and promoting a sustainable farming philosophy — all while offering the highest possible prices to their small-farm coffee producers.