This coffee will greet you with delicate florals and an elegant tea-like body. The acidity has qualities of fresh berries and hints of stone fruit, with a lovely lingering hibiscus finish. Expect a well rounded cup that is vibrant from start to finish.
Rosso was the first group of international buyers to ever visit Shyira. It's incredibly exciting to be the first buyers to ever visit this wonderful station! It's quite a lot smaller than the other stations we support in Rwanda, with just 29 tables and just over 100 tons of cherry received and processed this year. Those cherries came from 1869 farmers in the surrounding area, which is high up in the hills, relatively close to the famed Mountain Gorillas in Northern Rwanda. These farmers have incredibly small plots of land that have an array of different produce, with a few coffee trees scattered throughout. None of them solely grow coffee, which is why there's such a large number of farmers contributing just 100 tons of cherry.
This year marks our third visit to Shyira. In the first year, we were assigned the task of harvesting cherries with some of the local farmers. Believe it or not, in our now 5 years of purchasing direct, this was the first time to be granted this assignment. It was an eye opening experience as we scaled down a hill, using the trunks of trees as stability and support. Then, we shifted the branches through old growth bourbon trees searching for the ripest, most-red cherries. We were out picked by the four locals who assisted as far as volume goes, but our quality of harvest was rather consistent. We brought these cherries back to Shyira where we were then tasted with sorting, just like the farmers would be. This is the first task all farmers will be asked when Shyira is purchasing their cherry, and this is to help educate the best quality of cherries and what happens if the green or overripe cherries were to make their way into the mix.
This station has some truly amazing coffee with refined acidity and complexity. The station manager, Josue is the only full time staff member and had 42 seasonal workers help him through this harvest. Next season, as they become a little more established, I'm sure that will change. They are looking at trying some Honey and Natural processing next harvest if they're able to build more drying beds through the off season. This year they produced washed coffees that had an average fermentation time of 12 hours and 35 days drying in the sun on raised beds.
With the high altitude surrounding Shyira, the coffee cherries have the ability to store more sugars and find more depth of flavour and complexity, due to cooler climate high up in the mountains. This gives us the idea that the ceiling of potential quality coming out of Shyira is high and we've got lots to look forward to in the seasons to come.
Overall, Shyira has become a famed coffee station in Rwanda, with coffee buyers all throughout the world trying to get their hands on this amazing offering.
For more of the story on Shyira, read our Journal.
Washing Station: Shyira [she-ear-ah]
Station Manager: Dusengiyumva Josue
Farmers: Small Producers
Build Date: January 2017
First Year Rosso Purchased: 2017
Region: Nyabihu, North Western Region of Rwanda
Processing Techniques Purchased: Washed
Elevation: 1800 - 2200
Tasting Notes: Blackberry, Floral, Hibiscus, Stonefruit, Juicy
Roasted For: Filter
This is the third year we've visited and purchased coffee from Shyira.