Gishamwana Island is located in the center of Lake Kivu in Rwanda. Emmanuel Rwakagara, the founder of COOPAC, privately owns the coffee farm. The co-op is a collective of over 8000 coffee producers that export high-quality organic and fair trade coffee. The island’s 35,000 coffee trees are grown amongst natural forestry to provide a higher level of shade than the typical African coffee. Rwakagara attributes the tart herbal notes of the Gishamwana bean to this unique growing method.
The isolation of the island protects the coffee from many diseases and pests, as well as unintentional cross-pollination from other coffee plants. Additionally, the entire production cycle (growing, milling, drying) is completed on-site, further protecting the crop. This leads to a consistently high-quality coffee year after year, with few defects.