Experiments in Processing in Rwanda: The Honey Process


In February, Miguel and Richard travelled to Rwanda, to explore processing experiments with our producer partners Muraho Trading Co at their Kilimbi coffee washing station. The experiments focussed on the honey and natural process for flavour development, two processes which are still relatively unexplored due to restrictions on their production in the country until recently. Together, they discussed the similarities, differences, and potential for their respective processing techniques in a different context to their own.

The soon to be honeyfied cherries firstly were washed, and sealed tightly in plastic bags for 24 hours, before being pulped late the next day. The pulped coffees were kept in a pre-drying shed overnight, before being moved to drying tables at different times the following day. The experiment looked at the rate of honey development, and the experiment returned coffees between which sat between what is typically defined as red and black honey grades. Each separation was then put out to dry at different times of the following day, rendering varied levels of colour, aroma, and eventual flavour development across the honey spectrum.

As part of our cupping sessions at the London Coffee Festival, we were able to showcase the results of the experiment. Feedback on preference depended heavily on the individual's personal preference for honey development, and also a lot of intrigue into the continuation of the experiments in the future.