- Origin: Rwanda
- Region: Western Province
- Town: Rusizi
- Washing station: Nyakarenzo
- Crop: 2021
- Altitude: 1500-1900m
- Variety: Red Bourbon
- Processing: Natural
A note from our supplier, Sucafina:
Nyakarenzo washing station lies in the Rusizi District, Rwanda’s most southwestern region. The region borders the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi and has a shoreline along Lake Kivu. The washing station lies close to the Cyamudongo natural highland forest.
The washing station lies much lower than the farms that produce its coffee. This makes it easier for the producers to carry their coffee cherries downhill after the day’s harvest. Placing the station down the hill also facilitates the water supply to the station from the nearby river network. The orientation of the farms in the hills means that the coffee trees catch a lot more sun hours than the washing station itself. The drying field of the station has less direct exposure to sunlight, which slows down the coffee drying process. In some circumstances, slow drying can cause difficulties, presenting opportunities for fungal or bacterial infection. However, at Nyakarenzo very careful care is taken to ensure even drying and good aeration through the process.
Due to the station’s lower altitude, drying capacity at Nyakarenzo is limited. As a result of this smaller capacity, the station has pursued specialty production. With a smaller production size, the quality of production is easier to control. The station produces high quality beans that fetch high prices that keep the station running year after year.
Nyakarenzo dedicates significant focus on high quality cherry selection, beginning at intake. The manager who oversees cherry intake controls which cherries are accepted for processing and allows only the ripest cherry with no quality issues.
The manager checks the quality of the cherry by floating it. Since not all defects are visible, flotation enables the manager to check for under-developed beans and other potential defects. Then, they use visual inspection to check for any insect damage or other defects. The manager then notes the quality of the batch. Farmers receive payment according to their cherry’s quality and volume. This incentivizes careful cherry harvesting.
After intake, cherry is placed in thin layers on tables to sun dry. Here, it is sifted regularly to ensure even drying. The cherry is covered during the hottest times of the day and during periods of rain.
In concert with our sustainability partner, Kahawatu Foundation, Sucafina Rwanda (Rwacof) invests heavily in farmer training and good agricultural practices. Rwacof’s Farmer Field School shares information with all their producer partners about best agricultural practices, conservation tactics, the importance of picking only ripe cherry and more.
Furthermore, Rwacof is focused on improving the financial situation of the farmers with whom they work. Annual bonuses are always distributed once the coffee is sold. As part of Sucafina’s innovative Farmer Hub program, these second payments are deposited into zero-fee bank accounts. Second payments are typically given as cash. Through our Farmer Hub program, these bank accounts offer wider-reaching benefits, including more secure storage for their money and the opportunity to build a financial credit history & give them access to credit lines with better interest rates.
Above all, Rwacof’s exceptional attention to detail during post-harvest activities ensures the best quality coffee possible. From the moment cherry enters the washing station until it is milled and bagged for export, Rwacof keeps stringent quality controls in place. They know, as we do, that high quality coffee is crucial for delivering benefit all along the supply chain.
Despite its turbulent history, today Rwanda is one of the specialty coffee world’s darlings – for good reason! Our sister company in Rwanda does an amazing job of bringing the best that Rwanda has to offer to roasters around the world.
German missionaries and settlers brought coffee to Rwanda in the early 1900s. Largescale coffee production was established during the 1930 & 1940s by the Belgian colonial government. Coffee production continued after the Belgian colonists left. By 1970, coffee had become the single largest export in Rwanda and accounted for 70% of total export revenue. Coffee was considered so valuable that, beginning in 1973, it was illegal to tear coffee trees out of the ground.
Between 1989 and 1993, the breakdown of the International Coffee Agreement (ICA) caused the global price to plummet. The Rwandan government and economy took a hard hit from low global coffee prices. The 1994 genocide and its aftermath led to a complete collapse of coffee exports and vital USD revenue, but the incredible resilience of the Rwandan people is evident in the way the economy and stability have recovered since then.
Modern Rwanda is considered one of the most stable countries in the region. Since 2003, its economy has grown by 7-8% per year and coffee production has played a key role in this economic growth. Coffee has also played a role in Rwanda’s significant advancements towards gender equality. New initiatives that cater to women and focus on helping them equip themselves with the tools and knowledge for farming have been changing the way women view themselves and interact with the world around them.
Today, smallholders propel the industry in Rwanda forward. The country doesn’t have any large estates. Most coffee is grown by the 400,000+ smallholders, who own less than a quarter of a hectare. The majority of Rwanda’s coffee production is Arabica. Bourbon variety plants comprise 95% of all coffee trees cultivated in Rwanda.
Our coffee comes in craft paper bags which contain a plastic liner on the inside to guarantee freshness of our coffee. Please dispose properly at your local plastic trash container. The Village Coffee is roasted fresh every week, and best consumed within four weeks after roast date. Store your coffee in a dry, dark and cool place, avoid the fridge.