RWANDA • MUZO
Baho Founder, Emmanuel Rusatira began trialing a process he calls ‘Intango’ during the 2018 harvest. The name comes from a Rwandese tradition in which fruit would be fermented in clay ‘intango’ jars to create a potent elixir for warriors to consume prior to battle. Emmanuel explains, it is an homage to local history and tradition. For the process, the best quality cherries are tightly packed into sealed jars and left to ferment for 48 - 100 hours. For this Muzo lot, the target fermentation time was 72 hours. In today’s specialty coffee vocabulary, it is ‘anaerobic’. But because all fermentation are anaerobic by definition, we like to refer to this process as a ‘low oxygen whole cherry fermentation’.
Intango lots have become a Summer tradition at Quietly with their lively, fruit forward profiles! This year's lot comes from 10 select Muzo producers: Appollinaire Binyavanga, Jean Buyers, Zabuloni Bahizi, Pierre Celestin Bicamwishano, Cyprien Karangwa, Cassien Ntegereje, Anastasie Rwanziyekare, Jean Damascene Ngerageze, Jean Paul Nsanzumuihire, Clarisse Mujawamariya. Selected by Theophile, the Muzo manager, they were asked to bring their coffees in at the same time in early April with the knowledge that doing so would result in recognition for their work, organic fertilizers, and an additional post harvest premium.
As Brendan Adams at Semilla explains: "the agreement was made that growers should commit to the same schedules of fertilization and harvesting, as well as delivery day, so that their lot could be grouped in this way. This type of result is exactly what gets us excited about traceability - as we move past simply accepting cherries from farmers, we not only get the chance to return to them year after year, but we also can form a deeper relationship that results in a more holistic form of sourcing that we find to be more respectful".
Muzo is part of the larger Baho network and is near and dear to Emmanuel. Average temperatures here are higher and the rainfall is lower, with altitudes that top out at a soaring 2100masl. All of these factors likely play a part in the intensely sweet and tropical fruit flavoured coffees that come through the stations.
Compared to other experimental processing which rely on plastic or steel, the clay intango pots are porous, which helps to harbor very specific local microbes. The resulting cup is intensely fruit-forward, like tropical fruit punch. The wonderful thing about working harvest-after-harvest with Baho is the way flavours carry forward. In this case, the hallmark red plum and jammy grape notes. Moreover, there is an amazing surprise every crop and with this year’s Muzo, it is a long lingering Turkish Delight, dark chocolate and table cream finish.
Red Plum, Grape Juice & Big Turk.
Northern Province, Gakenke District.
Baho Coffee's Muzo Station.
10 Select Producers at Muzo Station.
72 Hour Intango & 100 Hour Dried Natural.