Murakaza Neza !!

What comes to your mind when you hear discussions on Akagera, Virunga and Muhazi in a MBA class – taught by Professor Click. Recently we did a case study on Bourbon Coffee – An upcoming urbane coffee shop from Rwanda in our CAP class and got to know about an exciting venture from The Land of Thousand Hills. 

We discussed in detail about the Rwanda’s Coffee industry and how Bourbon Coffee has leveraged its Rwanda connection in the US; setting up shops in DC and New York, and one in Boston is on the cards.  Coffee being second largest traded commodity in the world we were surprised to know it plays a critical role towards the progress of Rwandan economy. Bourbon coffee has been instrumental in creating a global stature of Rwandan coffee by providing handcrafted coffee to its consumers across the globe.

So what makes Bourbon Coffee truly unique and much different than staple coffee shops in DC. I decided to walk 5 blocks from GWSB to visit Bourbon on L street. Few minutes later, I was amidst the aroma of exotic flavors of coffee with chic interiors. I was relishing a cup of freshly brewed Kizi Rift – another signature of Bourbon Coffee and talking to the store mananger about the history of Bourbon.

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I was told Bourbon orginated from Bourbon Arabica variety of coffee which has been growing  wild in Rwanda for over a century. The coffee beans are grown by Rwandan farmers collectively to give a very unqiue and distinct flavor to coffee beans. Their efforts ensure a remarkably nuanced and redefined quality for Coffee freaks. Another great thing about Bourbon is it follows the fair trade regulations in five distinct coffee-growing regions, each with unique soil and climate conditions, which yield five distinctively tantalizing coffees: Akagera, Kivu Lake, Kizi Rift, Muhazi and Virunga.

While I clicked some pictures, I was told that cafe in MTN center in Kigali is truly unique with separate seating areas that highlight the 5 coffee-growing regions of Rwanda, featuring typical artwork from each region. And more importantly the cafe has a great wifi network – A boon for internationals. An interesting fact about Bourbon Cafe in DC is it has same interiors to the one in Kigali and conscious effort was made to give it a Rwandan vibrant.

As I decided to leave, I curiously asked why is Murakaza Neza written on the entrance. The barista chirped “Blessings and Welcome to Rwanda” !


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