Rwanda Coffee that Empowers People/Producers
Specialty coffee exporters, SUCAFINA, bought the station in 2010 from the army. It’s located at 1,827 m altitude, 1 km or so from the shores of Lake Kivu in Rutsiro District. The 1,200 registered Rwanda coffee growers that we work with and buy cherry from have farms from 1,600 to around 1,950 m of altitude and occupy several hills around Mushonyi. Meaning that the washing station has a significant number of distinctly different areas, soils, temperatures that it buys from, which are separated by relatively small distances. Tree variety is bourbon (generally poor disease resistance and yields, but brews excellent cups of limited release coffee).
Rwandan coffee growers that they work with group into producer organizations of around 30, with a lead coffee grower elected to act as the main point of communication with the Mushonyi team led by their Manager there, Jean D’Amour, an agronomist. His team at the station comprises of one accountant, one quality controller (inspects cherry delivery quality, and supervises parchment triage), two security guards and a machine technician. Jean in conjunction with the team roll’s out 6 modules during the off season with Mushonyi growers that range from GAPs to financial literacy. They also provide agri-equipment to the Rwanda coffee producer organizations.
Results over the years have showed that Mushonyi has great coffee. Placing 26th in 2014 (there were no competitions in 2017 and 2016) and most recently in the top 40 in 2018 in industry competitions. During this harvest, the team constructed a cherry sorting shed with 30 mt of raised table space to enable them to do additional cherry sorting to make sure that the coffee cherry that we de-pulp is the best possible representation of the potential of the area. The station produced a limited release, small experimental quantity of naturals this year (42 bags of 15+) which we really liked so we will almost certainly increase this quantity next year (weather dependent) and add some honey processed to the mix too.
Production volume of the Rwanda coffee this year was more or less unchanged from 2017 at 850 mt of Cherry. It’s above average in an extremely competitive area, where other well financed players are placed (including Olam, RTC and Coopac). Cash prices for growers year on year were up which bucked some of the trend in the country, helping earnings for coffee producers in the county and throughout the industry!
Thanks to our friends at SUCAFINA for helping us highlight the producers of this limited release Rwanda coffee.