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Rwanda Rusizi Gaseke Specialty Washed

Origin Rwanda /

Altitude 1500 masl /

Crop Year 2018 /

Varietal Bourbon /

Product Code 6171

About Rwanda Rusizi Gaseke Specialty Washed

This coffee comes from a washing station located in Rusizi district, in the village of Gaseke. The village is dominated by mountains which make part of a wonderful coffee growing location.This is a relatively small washing station which has been operating since 2016 and produces some really exceptional lots.

The coffee cherries come from around 400 growers surrounding the village and washing station who have an average of 370 trees per grower. The main variety grown in the area is bourbon.

The received cherries are sorted out on tables to separate unripe, defected and undesirable cherries from high quality cherries. The remaining ripe red cherry is then immersed in a water tank and “floaters” are removed.

The coffee is then wet processed and fully washed following the depulp.

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About Rwanda

Prior to the year 2000, Rwanda exported almost 100% semi-washed green coffee each year. Semi-washed processed coffee is a home processed coffee, where the grower de-pulps the coffee cherry, sometimes ferments the coffee before roughly washing it and drying it outside on the ground until the parchment moisture reduces to around 20%. Improper fermentation, washing and drying can lead to a lack of cup uniformity and in some cases fermented cups. This coffee has a high correlation to New York C prices – it is “commodity coffee”. Production collapsed from a peak of 35,000 MT in 1992, to close to nothing as a result of the genocide in 1994. New York C price fluctuations between 100 and 200 usc/lb didn’t encourage a devastated country to return to a 35,000 MT production and instead it halved in the late 1990’s to around 18,000 MT.

As efforts were made to stabilize the country, the coffee supply chain become a key focal area of development and growth. By the early 2000’s the Government alongside international bodies and the local coffee industry created an aligned strategy aimed at improving the quality and export price through much better primary processing. The fully washed process was adopted and the first washing station was built in 2004 in partnership USAID. The washing station can exercise much better control of the de-pulping, fermentation, washing and drying of the coffee to bring out much more of the coffee’s attributes.

Today with around 300 washing stations, 65% of exports are of fully washed coffee. The fully washed processing method has added a minimum 40% premium to the export value of Rwanda’s coffee. This extra premium supports 1) the washing station businesses that create this value addition and 2) the growers through much superior prices for their coffee cherry (growers in 2018 received around 34 usc/kg for cherry sold to a washing station against around 16 usc/kg for cherry which is home processed). Coffee exports in 2017 amounted to around $60m, equivalent to 8% of Rwanda’s total exports.