I’ve blogged quite a bit about Rwandan food. So far everything has been amazing - perfectly seasoned root vegetables, delicious and savory meats, and incredibly flavorful drinks. However, there’s one beverage I haven’t had the opportunity to taste as much as I would like, and that’s coffee. That would change today - we were going to visit a free trade coffee shop, and learn about the various types of coffee found in Rwanda.
Around mid-afternoon we visited the coffee shop. It was impressively upscale, akin to a fancy coffee shop in the US. The smell of coffee was deep, rich, and intoxicating - I almost believed you could get caffeinated off the smell alone. I didn’t need to worry about that though, as there was plenty of coffee for sale. I quickly ordered a plain black coffee to satisfy my craving for caffeine.
I barely had time to take a sip before our delegation was ushered into a smaller room for a master class in coffee tasting. We sampled coffee from five different regions of Rwanda - North, South, East, West, and Central. We were told to rate them on a chart based on numerous factors, including bitterness, sweetness, aftertaste, mouth feel, etc. I never realized there were so many different factors that went into a good cup of coffee! It quickly made me realize that I’m a HUGE amateur when it comes to coffee drinking - there are so many subtleties that I was unable to identify (but I was still enjoying myself!)
Naturally, my bag was packed full with several bags of coffee after the experience. The hiking yesterday was my favorite experience by far, but this is taking a close second - and I have many gifts to distribute to my friends back home!!!
I am traveling to Rwanda with the intent of a sponge - I want to absorb as many unique experiences as I possibly can, and bring them back to share with my culture. I am a multifaceted artist, and Rwanda is a treasure trove of valuable experiences to draw inspiration from. As a visual artist, I look forward to seeing unique handmade art, and letting it inspire an artistic vision. As a musician, I look forward to hearing vastly different than what I’m used to, and letting that inspire music from my soul. And as a teacher, I’m looking to see teaching methods different than what I have known. I want to bring these gifts back and share them with my culture.