- Origin: Rwanda
- Region: Western Province
- Town: Rutsiro
- Farm: Bugoyi
- Crop: 2021
- Altitude: 1500-1900m
- Variety: Red Bourbon
- Processing: Fully washed
A note from our supplier, Sucafina:
Bugoyi washing station sits on the shores of Lake Kivu. Its location is more than just picturesque: the winds blowing off the lake help to dry the coffee evenly. Our in-country partner, Baho Coffee, purchased the station in 2016 and has already partnered with around 5,000 farmers in the surrounding area, a testament to their exceptional working standards.
Farmers in Rwanda have small coffee plots, usually around 250 trees. Most coffee trees are intercropped with food crops like maize and potatoes. Despite their small size, for many, coffee remains the main cash crop and their biggest source of income throughout the year.
“Farmers are motivated to produce quality coffee but their efforts are not well remunerated. Coffee prices are not meeting farmers’ expectations,” says Rusatira Emmanuel, Managing Director of Baho Coffee. This is why washing stations countrywide, including those owned by Baho Coffee, are striving to incentivize high quality coffee production with better prices and support for farmers seeking to improve the quality of their harvest.
In the early 2000s the Rwandan government, with the input of international partners, identified coffee as a potentially key generator of much needed export revenue. To improve the quality of coffee, the government has incentivized the creation of new washing stations in coffee producing areas and has partnered with local stakeholders to make sure that farmers are the main beneficiaries.
As one measure to this end, the government supports washing stations by providing inputs. The stations, in turn, transport the inputs from government warehouses to the area so farmers can access them more easily. The station is also involved in training farmers how to use inputs properly.
As part of Rusatira’s dedication to coffee farmers, Bugoyi station – alongside many other Baho-managed stations – supports farmers in a number of additional ways. The station provides safety equipment such as masks and gloves for farmers to use while applying certain chemicals. Bugoyi also supports farmers with small, year-long loans to help with the costs of production and other expenditures such as medical bills or school fees. The station grows seedlings and distributes them to farmers to help them renew aging rootstock. They provide trainings on hygiene and sanitation and help farmers gain access to clean water.
Bugoyi also organizes Farmer Field Schools (FFS). FFS are groups of 20-30 farmers who live and farm close to one another. The farmers elect a lead farmer who attends trainings at the station. The lead farmer returns to their area and teaches the group they lead using a centrally-located demonstration plot. Through the FFS, farmers learn about soil conservation, water protection, waste management and more.
During the harvest season, cherry is selectively handpicked by farmers and their families. At Bugoyi, an average of 120 seasonal workers oversee and inspect cherry from intake to pulping to drying, and beyond. At intake, staff sort cherry by hand and then float the cherry to check for density. The station accepts the cherry that passes both visual hand sorting and floating. Sorting work consumes over 70% of seasonal labor, but Rusatira knows it is worth it. Accepted cherry is then pulped on a Mackinon pulper before being dry fermented for 12 hours. The parchment is soaked in clear water for 8 hours to ensure that all mucilage is removed and is then sent through grading channels.
After grading, parchment is spread on raised beds in the sun where, Rutasira says, the first 5 days are the most critical. Direct sunlight helps reduce the risk of mold or overfermentation during drying. Employees at all Baho stations are continuously sorting coffee as it dries on raised beds to ensure the coffee is clean. After the first 5 days, the parchment is moved to shade to complete Baho’s special, slow drying process. Parchment is sorted repeatedly throughout drying.
Rusatira says he drew inspiration about drying from cooking methods. “When you take meat and you put it on charcoal, after 20 min you have your meat ready. But in an oven, it would take 45 minutes. If you put it in hot ash, it may take two hours. When you taste these three meats, there’s a difference in the taste,” he says. “I have this kind of thinking that coffees that dry slowly, the taste and lifespan of this coffee may be longer and more delicious than the coffee that dries for 10-12 days in sun.” In total, the parchment from Bugoyi station dries under careful scrutiny for up to 93 days.
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.