After seeing the farmers’ process up to providing us with our beans, the next step to a fresh cup of coffee is what we do here at the shop. When we receive green beans, some are coated in an outer shell called parchment. This is all carefully peeled off, and the beans are sorted. Looking at the green beans, we have to make sure there is no damage and all the beans are of the same quality.
When we have a good sample of beans, we begin roasting. During roasting, there are two main processes: one of which is endothermic and the other exothermic. As the green beans begin to heat up, they are taking in heat. This is the endothermic part of the reaction. We can watch as the beans slowly turn from green to a dark brown. As the beans begin to change, they do not yet smell like coffee but instead, like popcorn! As they take in more and more heat, the beans even begin to pop (or crack) just as popcorn does. This is when the exothermic part of the process begins. After the roasting process is done, we remove the beans from the roaster and allow them to cool.
These beans are then ready to use at the shop. The rest of the process only begins after a customer orders a cup of coffee. Then we ground the beans and put them in our pour over coffee filter. We slowly add boiled water, which drips through to the cups.
Soon we would like to offer a coffee tourism experience where visitors can go from the farms right around the Butare area and see how the coffee is farmed and processed and then come to our shop to shell and roast their very own batch. They will personally be able to experience the local production of coffee.
Recently we have also been experimenting with new coffee drinks we can offer here at the shop. We want to take advantage of Rwanda’s rich milk, sweet honey, and of course the delicious ice cream we make at the shop. The first drink we have developed is a Mocha Iced Coffee, a delicious blend of coffee, milk and chocolate. We are hoping Rwandan university students down the road at NUR will enjoy coffee drinks as much as the average American student does.