Announcing Our New Coffees from Rwanda
To expand options for our customers and introduce them to a variety of rich Rwanda coffees, we will start serving new coffees in the next month. One of the new coffees will be offering is the following:
- Species: Arabica
- Variety: Red Bourbon
- Process: Washed
- Farm: Various smallholders
- Processing: Dried on raised beds
- Cupping Notes: plum, pomegranate, black cherry, dark chocolate
ORIGIN OF THIS COFFEE
This coffee comes from Nyarusiza Washing Station, sourced by various smallholders. The station was established in 2003 by Buf Coffee and sits at an elevation of 5, 740 feet (1,750 meters) above sea level. Buf Coffee Washing Station is located in the mountains near the village of Karaba, Nyamagabe District in the Rwanda’s Southern Province (former Ginkongoro prefecture).
Buf Coffee started operation in 2000, after funding aid from the Rwandan Development Bank and USAID’s PEARL project. Buf Cafe is a private washing station, owned wholly by the Muhirwa family, processing coffee cherry from two distinct cooperatives in the Ginkongoro prefecture: Cobabakagi (1300 members) and Terimbere Kawa Yacu (between 400-600 members). They also collect cherry from farmers in other regions, siphoning away outside cooperative output by placing collection sites within the operating zones of other established groups.
HISTORY OF COFFEE IN RWANDA
The commercialization of coffee came about gradually in Rwanda and coffee was always produced on smallholder farms. Independence brought some improvement to the coffee infrastructure as the government established more modern and centralizing processing. But this meant the government set the price they would pay for coffee and farmers had no other options. There was no focus on quality because there was no incentive whatsoever.
Despite much of the coffee being Bourbon, there was no sorting or grading so all the coffee was commercial grade. Rwanda exported 642,000 bags of coffee in 1993 and 447,000 in 1994. Then, as something of a stark reminder of the genocide, Rwanda exported a mere 22,000 bags in 1995. Today, Rwanda exports only 43% of what it did in 1993, but current exports represent much greater value because for the last 20 years the focus has been on quality rather than quantity, supported by various initiatives of the Rwandan government and international NGOs.
GROWING COFFEE IN RWANDA
Rwanda’s ideal growing conditions are no longer wasted on poor processing. New washing stations have opened in all coffee growing regions, innovative cupping labs that arrive built into shipping containers, and cooperatives have been established. The vast majority of Rwanda's smallholder farmers grow high-quality Bourbon, well-suited to the high altitudes and volcanic soil of the region. For the last 10 years, Rwandan specialty coffees consistently rank among the finest in the world.