We started the class because we wanted people to understand the story behind the coffee that they drink and how to consume it…
We started the masterclass because we wanted people – both Rwandans and foreign visitors – to understand the story behind the coffee that they drink and how to consume it. There weren’t many things for visitors to do in Kigali at the time, so we came up with the idea of a fun, two-hour experience that would appeal to anyone who likes drinking coffee without necessarily knowing anything about where it comes from. And, of course, we wanted to show off the achievements of the women in the cooperatives – who’ve been trained by Sustainable Growers, our parent company – who actually grow and process our speciality coffees.
The class starts with a brief introduction about the history of coffee, both in general and in Rwanda in particular. We then talk about what Question Coffee is and does, and the amazing work of Sustainable Growers, before explaining the journey of coffee from seed to sip. It all becomes much clearer when we head outside into the garden, where we have coffee trees of various types and sizes. During the harvesting season, which is between March and June, participants will be able to actually see ripe coffee cherries and pick some to taste, and we also show them some of the tools the farmers use.
After that, it’s time to go back inside for a tasting session, involving a minimum of four different coffees from four different cooperatives – and we always have a mixture of washed, natural and honey coffees, because we want people to be able to understand the different processes. Our guests learn how to differentiate the different aromas and flavours, and they have a fun form that they use to grade their coffees. It’s not professional, but it’s our own version of a ‘cupping’, which is what we call a quality-control session in the industry. So they get to know which type of coffee they like and make their own blend to take home with them.
The feedback has been really good, and it’s our most popular experience. People tell us how much they enjoyed learning random facts, such as where coffee was first discovered, and how to really pick out the aroma and flavours of different types of coffee. Quite a lot of participants, if they have more time in the country, go on to sign up for our full-day coffee farm tour so they can experience the day-to-day life of a farm and washing station for themselves. Either way, they go away with a deeper appreciation of how it’s not just ‘Rwandan coffee’ – there are thousands of hard-working farmers and hundreds of cooperatives with a story to tell – and, hopefully, a taste for the coffees they discover through us.
Your journey will start with one of our UK team – someone like Vicki, who's travelled extensively in Rwanda. They’ll shape your ideas into the trip of a lifetime. But they won't do it alone. They'll draw on the expertise of our contacts on the ground, connecting you to the people who'll make your holiday one you'll always remember - the guides who track mountain gorillas day and night to ensure you get the best sightings, the Kigalians who'll give you a real insight into their vibrant city and the coffee-growers who'll tutor you in the art of tasting.
Freephone an expert 01306 744 656