Our first foray into working with coffees from Rwanda’s Kayonza district, we were introduced to this delicious lot from Akagera Coffee Project via the laudable work being done by Kula project.
The coffee processed by Akagera Coffee Project’s washing station, called Mukama, is grown, harvested and delivered by around 800 smallholders. These farmers are located around the village of Murama, which itself is in the Rwinkwavu sector of Rwanda’s Kayonza district. On average each farm will only have around 500 coffee trees, a mixture of Bourbon (specifically the Mayaguez 139 strain) and Jackson (specifically 2/1257), and they are located between 1,450 and 1,850 metres in altitude. Many of the farms are fairly newly established, within the last 5 years since Kula began their training initiatives and seedling donation program.
The Washing Station
The washing station itself, named Mukama, follows strict quality control procedures to turn out high grade coffees. Received cherries are weighed and paid for upon reception, before they are hand-sorted and floated to remove defective, under-ripe and damaged fruit. They use a Penagos eco-pulper to remove the fruit skins and mucilage from the coffee cherries before they undergo a dry fermentation of between 8 and 12 hours. They use clean water to scrub off any residual mucilage and grade the coffee in channels via density. Before being put out onto raised beds to dry the coffee is sorted through by hand under shade, a process known as skin-drying. It takes between 14 and 21 days of drying on raised beds before the parchment is at an optimal moisture content and ready to be warehoused and subsequently dry-milled and exported.
We have been the partner and distributor of MiiR drinkware since 2020. Their design forward, generosity driven approach means that a portion of revenue from every product sold supports a range of initiatives in the areas of clean water, a healthy environment and building strong communities. One such enterprise benefitting on the ground is the Kula project in Rwanda.
The group work with several washing stations and provide a breadth of social support for the coffee growing communities integral to Rwanda’s coffee industry. As well as agronomical training, on topics as broad as erosion control, harvesting practices, weeding and waste management, tree canopy management, integrated pest control, use of shade trees and many more, they also run seminars on life and leadership skills focussing on topics like action planning, financial literacy, family & gender equity and more.
In 2021 as part of their coffee fellowship program they supplied around 2,000 hours of training as well as hundreds of record keeping books, saws, pruning shears and bars of soap. 150,000 trees were also donated, comprised of 135,000 coffee trees and 15,000 shade trees.
Kula have said the below as regards their work in coffee producing communities in Rwanda:
“We want to make this message clear: there are individuals; hands, feet, hopes, dreams, obstacles and opportunities behind every cup of coffee you drink – hours, months, years of digging, pruning, watching, picking, carrying in order to provide quality coffee harvest ready to be processed and exported. The more we can tell this story, grow our community of thoughtful coffee drinkers, and bring increased profitability to these farmers – the origin of the supply chain – the more we fulfil our mission and support the entrepreneurs who will transform their communities.”
Murama, Rwinkwavu, Kayonza District, Rwanda
Juicy & refreshing, we’re picking up on sweet cherry, lychee & raspberry lemonade. Light caramel tones develop into marzipan in the finish.