The Huye district, not far from Rwanda’s southern shared border with Burundi, has a strong reputation when it comes to coffee. Huye’s main city, known as both Huye and Butare, is Rwanda’s third largest city and home to the University of Rwanda campus. It is a bustling, well-educated city surrounded by talented coffee producers. A winning combination for specialty development. Huye is much dryer than the nearby Nyamasheke district, whose position between the mighty Nyungwe National Forest and the miraculous Lake Kivu leaves it naturally endowed for fully washed processing. However, Huye receives strong, reliable rains and the coffee potential has always been high. A few talented producer groups here managed to put Huye on the map in the late aughts with some of the first traceable and collaborative relationship coffees the U.S. specialty industry had seen.
Horizon is a Huye-area washing station, recently purchased in 2018 from previous operators who had left it in poor shape. The new name, Horizon, was chosen to represent a vision of long-term quality and optimism. The management team had ample combined experience from running processing stations in the western province, and immediately set about restoring machinery and re-designing quality assurance protocols. The result, in just a few harvests, has been consistently bright, aromatic and honey-sweet coffee. This past season Horizon produced 2 containers of coffee.
Coffee at Horizon is hand-picked by participating smallholder farmers and carefully inspected upon delivery to the washing station. After depulping in a vintage disk pulper, coffee is fermented underwater, washed clean with fresh water, and then dried on raised beds for 10-14 days.
Horizon works with Rwanda Trading Company (RTC), a miller and exporter that began in 2010 managing small shipments of coffee from Kigali and has since grown into one of the best end-to-end value chain operators in the country. RTC works with dozens of washing stations across the country, not only milling and marketing their finished coffee, but also pre-financing harvests, providing farm management curriculums to local teams, helping processors establish their cherry prices, and centralizing quality control, allowing them to break down or combine deliveries to maximize returns to washing stations and coops. The title of this coffee, “Inzovu Supreme”, is RTC’s label for full-container-load, top quality lots that they market each year. In this case, the coffee is from a single washing station; but other Inzovu Supreme lots can be multi-station blends depending on profile.