DESCRIPTION: orange zest, clove, toasted marshmallow, raisin
REGION: Muasa Washing Station, Gakenke, Northern Province
PROCESSING METHOD: Washed, dried on raised beds
ALTITUDE: 2012 meters
The story of specialty coffee in post-genocide Rwanda is nothing short of a miracle. After the 1994 tragedy, coffee was left to rot on trees. The future of the crop and the country were both uncertain. Yet, in the past two decades, coffee has played an integral role in the revitalization of “The Land of a Thousand Hills.” From no specialty coffee and a meager two washing stations in 2000, to a place among those producing the world’s most prized coffees today — the depth and speed of the transformation is truly remarkable.
The Dukunde Kawa co-op is one of many groups involved in this transformation. Winners of the prestigious SCA Sustainability Award in 2012, the co-op has been a model for reinvesting resources in its members over its 16-year history. Over that time, the co-op has grown from 300 to more than 2,000 members, 80 percent of whom are women. These women have led the way in gaining Fair Trade certification for the group, building additional washing stations, and purchasing their own dry mill to assert complete control over coffee processing. They have also fostered many projects for building up the community, such as investing in a dairy cow for each member household, establishing a sewing association, and directing profits into child education.
Excellence in coffee production makes all of this possible. Co-op members take great care in processing coffees for the highest quality by harvesting the ripest cherries, sorting at multiple stages, and washing and drying the coffees thoroughly. Their coffees consistently impress at the Rwandan Cup of Excellence, and we’re excited to bring in another lot highlighting the wonderful work of these women.
Photos courtesy of Sustainable Harvest Coffee Importers/Bryan Clifton