This coffee was produced by smallholder producers who farm coffee in the high hills surrounding Nyarusiza washing station. Typically, farms in the area are very small – averaging around a hectare (or 300-600 trees) – and are situated between 1,800 to 2,000 meters above sea level. Coffee is grown as a cash crop, alongside subsistence food crops like maize, beans and sorghum and some livestock like goats and chickens.
The farmers who make up the Kawanziza group come from a nearby village called Gasaka. Recently they banded together and made the decision to process and market their coffees separately as a smaller, more selected lot. The group also provide each other with invaluable support, by sharing resources and labour during the busy harvest period. They named their association Kawanziza, which roughly translates to ‘beautiful coffee’ in the local Kinyarwanda language.
Well-produced Rwandan coffees have distinctive traits - syrupy, richly intense flavours and full-bodied, with much of the profile deriving from the red bourbon varietal and mineral rich soil conditions.
The ripe cherries are picked by hand and then delivered to the washing station either on foot, by bike, or by trucks that pick up cherries from various pick-up points in the area.
Before being pulped, the cherries are deposited into floatation tanks, where a net is used to skim off the floaters (less dense, lower grade cherries). The heavier cherries are then pulped the same day using a mechanical pulper that divides the beans into three grades by weight.
The beans (in parchment) are then dry-fermented (in a tank with no added water) overnight for 8–12 hours. They are then sorted again using grading channels; water is sent through the channels and the lighter (i.e. lower grade) beans are washed to the bottom, while the heavier cherries remain at the top of the channel.
The wet parchment is then soaked in water for around 24 hours, before being moved to pre-drying beds where they are intensively sorted for around six hours.
The sorted beans are finally moved onto raised African drying beds in the direct sun to dry slowly over 10–20 days. During this time the coffee is sorted carefully for defects and turned regularly to ensure the coffee dries evenly. It is also covered in the middle of the day when the sun is at its hottest.
Buf Coffee was founded in 2003 by Epiphanie Mukashyaka, a woman of indomitable spirit and a source of inspiration for many female coffee producers and entrepreneurs. Hers is a story of hope born out of chaos and loss. Epiphanie lost her husband during the devastating 1994 Rwandan Genocide, and overcame complex challenges to build up her family's small coffee farm to what it is today, producing high quality coffee consistently, year after year.
Buf Coffee now owns four coffee washing stations – Remera, Nyarusiza, Umurage and Ubumwe. The company, which was serving fewer than 500 farmers in 2003, is now procuring coffee cherries from almost 7,500 smallholder farmers in the Southern province of Rwanda.
Liquid error: Argument error in tag 'include' - Illegal template name