Day 1 : Seed to cup coffee experience and transfer to Akagera National Park.
It believed that coffee was introduced in Rwanda in 1904 by German missionaries around 1930, a considerable interest in coffee developed as it was the sole revenue-generating commodity for rural families. Rwanda possesses ideal coffee-growing conditions such as volcanic soil, high altitudes, regular rainfall temperature which favor the slow maturation of coffee bean, creating a unique taste in the cup. Rwanda coffee can be world class. Participants on the coffee tasting tour and visitors experience firsthand information about the whole coffee production chain. You will pick your own coffee cherries from the coffee plantation and follow them the entire package of coffee processing. At the end of this exciting visit, you will enjoy a cup of Rwandan’s great coffee.
Planting coffee trees
Coffee beans are seeds which when dried, roasted and grounds are used to brew coffee. If the seeds are not processed, they can be planted and will grow into magnificent coffee trees that produce coffee cherries.
Coffee seeds are planted in shaded seedbeds, after sprouting the seedlings are removed from the seedbeds to be planted in prepared soil. Planting takes place during the wet season to ensure the soil around the young trees remains moist so far while the young roots become firmly established.
Harvesting the cherries.
A coffee plant usually starts to produce flowers three to four years after it is planted. it is from these flowers that the fruits of the plant appear. For the newly planted coffee trees it may take between 4-5 years to begin bear the cherries. The young coffee cherry shifts from a light-green to a dark-red color when it is ripe and ready to be handpicked.
Drying the Beans.
After beans have been processed, the pulped and fermented beans must now be dried to approximately 11% moisture to properly prepare them for storage.
Processing the Cherries.
Processing the coffee cherries involves the critical removal of husk and fruit from the beans and the subsequent drying of the beans to 11% moisture content and Using Wet Method the pulp is removed from the coffee cherry after harvesting so the bean is dried with only the parchment skin left on. First, the freshly harvested cherries are passed through a pulping machine to separate the skin and pulp from the bean. Then the beans are separated by weight as they pass through water channels. The lighter beans float to the top, while the heavier ripe beans sink to the bottom. They are passed through a series of tunnels which separate them by weight.
Milling the Beans.
Before being exported, parchment coffee is processed in the following manner: Hulling machinery removes the parchment layer (endocarp) from wet processed coffee and following more steps as you will learn at the farm.
After successfully roasting coffee beans are ground and boiled, the cupper tastes and smells the brew to experience aroma as an integral step in the evaluation of the coffee’s quality, the coffee is allowed to rest for several minutes then the cupper breaks the crust by pushing aside the grounds at the top of the cup and the coffee is once again smelled before the last tasting taking place. It takes 8 kilos of coffee cherries to produce 1 kilo of top quality coffee beans for exportation and local consumption.
Roasting the Coffee.
Roasting coffee transforms the chemical and physical properties of green coffee beans. When roasted, the green coffee bean expands to nearly double its original size, changing in color and density. As the bean absorbs heat, its color shifts to yellow, then to a light “cinnamon” brown, and then to a rich dark brown color. During roasting, oils appear on the surface of the bean. The roast will continue to darken until it is removed from the heat source.
The objective of a proper grind is to get the most flavor in a cup of coffee. How coarse or fine the coffee is ground depends on the brewing method and methods on how to make the perfect cup for any preference. Enjoy!
After breakfast we will drive to Kayonza for a seed to cup coffee experience and later head to Akagera National Park for a night game drive. Meals and Accommodation at Akagera Game Lodge.
Day 2 : Full Game drive and back to Kigali.
Akagera National park is located in the north east of Rwanda along the border with Tanzania. It is named after the Akagera river that flows along its eastern boundary and feeds into a labyrinth of lakes which the largest is Lake Ihema. The forest fringed lakes, papyrus swamps, savannah plains and rolling highlands combine to make Akagera amongst the most scenic of reserves anywhere in Africa. As Rwanda’s only Big Five park, this breath-taking landscape is every nature lover’s wildest dream.
After breakfast, you will go for a game drive from southern part up to the northern of the park and drive back to Kigali.