People don’t consider coffee as their choice, mainly because of the taste and the price.”
Celestine Gatarayiha, Agricultural Export Development Board
"It was brought to us in a negative way," she says. "Also eggs and poultry. People in the rural areas were taught that these were for white people."
Though Rwanda does not produce as much coffee as its neighbours Ethiopia or Kenya, aficionados are increasingly recognising the country as a source of specialty or gourmet coffee due to the favourable climate and altitude, especially in the southern and western regions.
And according to people in the industry, it is catching on.
Patrick Ruhumuriza, who is in his early 20s, says he was so taken with coffee when he first encountered it four years ago, that he taught himself how to become a barrister over Youtube and now works at the Magda cafe.
He say that since the cafe opened in March 2018, he has seen a steady stream of customers, including Rwandans, come through its doors — even if some are drawn not by the coffee served but by the ambience.
Angel Mutoni, 22, a cashier at the same cafe, who studies law, says coffee is a hit with sleep-deprived students. She admits, however, that many find the taste — and the price— peculiar. "It is expensive, but when they come, I invite them to taste it. I give them the lightest brew," she says.
Still, not all coffee shop workers are as enthused about the brew themselves.
Igor Miller, 21, a waiter at the Bourbon cafe, one of the first establishments to open in Kigali, says the number of clients has risen over the past year. "People were not used to it, but they are seeing it differently now," he says.
Miller adds, however, that no matter the hype, he has yet to take coffee. "I still don't like it. I just work here," he laughs.