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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 December 2004, 10:38 GMT
Rwandan coffee used to make beer
Coffee beer
Drinking five or six bottles will stop you sleeping
A London brewery has started producing beer brewed from Rwandan coffee beans.

The beer, which has a 4% alcohol content, is targeted at adult drinkers as a cappucino drink or as a digestif.

Meantime Brewery uses Fairtrade Arabica coffee beans, grown by the Maraba Co-operative in Butare Province. Coffee is one of Rwanda's major exports.

The Rwandan coffee had the right mix of flavours for the beer, Meantime owner Alastair Hook told the BBC's Network Africa programme.

Wake up with coffee beer?

Mr Hook says a glass of coffee beer is relaxing, but those who drink five or six might have trouble sleeping, as each glass of beer contains as much caffeine as a cup of coffee.

Mr Hook blind-tested coffee from Brazil, Colombia and Rwanda.

The chocolate and vanilla flavour of the Rwandan coffee married better with Mr Hook's idea for a coffee beer.

Brazilian and Colombian coffee had a nuttier and more bitter taste.

The Rwandan coffee, brewed at a temperature of 40C, had the "silky, velvety character" that the brewer wanted.

Once he found out the coffee was Rwandan, his next task was to find a Fairtrade producer in Rwanda.

"We are the only producer of coffee beer in the British Isles... We are the only producer of Fairtrade beer that I know of," he said.

Mr Hook hopes there will be strong demand for the drink and is selling 2,000 bottles a week through UK supermarket Sainsbury's.

The beer can also be bought in pubs, bars and restaurants.

He does not, however, see a market for the beer in coffee shops.

"I can't quite see Starbucks selling it... they would need a license to sell it," he said.

Coffee buzz lifts wartorn Rwanda
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Country profile: Rwanda
09 Nov 04 |  Country profiles

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