Washing Station QC Manager: Emmanuel Rusatira
Washing Station: Fugi
Region: Western Province, Rwanda
Varietal: Red Bourbon
Altitude: 1550 - 1800 MASL
Tasting notes: Tangerine | Cherry Cola | Rock Candy
We’re very excited to offer to you this month our first ever Honey processed Rwandan coffee! Coming from our partner Emmanuel Rusatira, who boasts over 20 years of experience as a washing station and quality control manager in Rwanda. In 2017, he finally decided to realize his long held dream of owning and operating his own washing stations under the name Baho or “Life” in Kinyarwanda, Rwanda’s national dialect. Emmanuel explained that after much struggle in life, including losing his parents in the genocide, he’s always sought to focus on life — “don’t lose hope,” he says. “Have life.”
In the two short seasons since he began with his four specialty washing stations, he’s doing incredible things. We’ll be bringing more of these coffees in from the 2019 harvest, featuring some of his wild experimental processes as well! For now, we’ll start with this honey processed coffee, that has all kinds of fruity flavour complexity and is incredibly clean and sweet!
The quality of these coffees is based on Emmanuel’s focus and protocol at the washing station level. First and foremost, cherries are hand sorted after arrival at Fugi washing station, then the cherries are also floated to separate the best quality cherries.
The cherries are then left to sit for 12 hours before being put through an eco-pulper without water. The coffee is then put under a shade for 24 hours, before being put into the open sen for 5 days where it is turned every 3 hours by women workers. From the 5th to the 15th day, the coffee is turned every 2 hours only. It then rests there until it rests a moisture content of under 12% (between 35-40 days), before being bagged in parchment and then dry milled.
As is the case in many parts of Africa, Emmanuel operates by purchasing in cherry from 5,500 specialty grade small producers across three provinces. These small producers are REALLY small, bringing in an average of about 750 kilos of cherries each harvest, from an average tree base of 300-320 coffee trees.
These producers tend to also subsist on other crops like potatoes, beans, banana, maize and cassava. Unlike Ethiopia, intercropping is not as common, but with education and feedback from buyers and agronomists, producers are beginning to learn the benefits of this practice.
Rwanda’s National Agricultural Export Board (NAEB) works to set baseline prices for coffee that ensure producers are paid consistently for their product. That being said, for conventional grade coffee cherries, producers receive 240 francs/kg at the moment of drop off. This is the equivalent of 0.27USD/kg or 12 cents a pound for their cherries. With Baho, they receive double this - 480 francs/kg - but also receive premiums for quality that come later in the harvest based on the price coffee is sold for.
We’re confident you’ll love these super sweet and full-bodied coffees. We havee another washed lot from Emmanuel called Rwanda Bugoyi on our regular menu now, so take a look and please enjoy!