Region: Gacurabwenge, Kamonyi District Altitude: 1,550 - 1,700 metres above sea level Varietal: Red Bourbon Process: Natural and sun dried on raised beds Producer:Epiphanie Mukashyaka
This lot of natural processed Red Bourbon features complex fruit and floral flavours - pink guava, raspberry and white flowers rounding off with a thick, syrupy mouthfeel. Recommended for pour-over, Aeropress, French Press and cold brew.
This coffee comes to us from Buf Coffee's Ubumwe washing station, located in the Gacurabwenge sector of Rwanda's Kamonyi District. Ubumwe was founded in 2018 and it is the newest washing station operated by Buf Coffee along with well known stations such as Remera, Nyarusiza and Umurage.
This coffee was grown and harvested by approximately 500 smallholder farmers surrounding the washing station, who also use some of their land to cultivate other crops such as maize and beans to feed themselves and their families. Grown on small patches in a family compound or on small plots, this method of cultivation (called "garden coffee") is practiced in many parts of East Africa. Most of their income from the sale of coffee is used to send their children to school, pay for medical care, and for investment in livestock such as purchasing a cow for milk.
Coffee farms in this area are quite small, with most farms averaging around a quarter of an acre under cultivation (or 300 coffee trees). The land surrounding Ubumwe washing station is rich with minerals such as phosphorus, potassium, zinc and boron, which are necessary for coffee growth and which contribute directly to cherry ripeness and root development. Coupled with high altitudes ranging between 1,550 - 1,700 metres above sea level, coffees from this region tend to have well-developed and dynamic flavour profiles.
This lot is particularly rare as most of the coffees from this region are fully washed. As at most washing stations in Rwanda, women do the majority of the hand sorting. Beans are moved onto the washing station’s extensive drying tables for around 14 days (depending on the weather), where they are sorted for defects, turned regularly and protected from rain and the midday sun by covers, ensuring both even drying and the removal of any damaged beans.
After reaching 11% humidity, the coffee is then stored in parchment in a purpose-built warehouse prior to final dry-milling and hand-sorting at the dry mill. Each coffee that arrives is also cupped by the Q-graders of Buf’s exporting partner. The process is painstaking and the work demanding, as producers work harder to meet the quality the market is asking for.
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.