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Rwanda Rutsiro Mushonyi Isimbi Washed

Origin Rwanda /

Altitude 1600 - 1950 masl /

Crop Year 2018 /

Varietal Bourbon /

Product Code 6167

About Rwanda Rutsiro Mushonyi Isimbi Washed

Mushonyi Washing Station is located approximately 1km away from the shores of Lake Kivu in Rutsiro District. There are around 1200 growers who deliver cherry to this stations and occupy several hills around Mushonyi. The main variety grown in this area is bourbon with an average of 300 trees per grower. Mushonyi growers generally plant Banana’s, Eucalyptus (charcoal) and Cassava in addition to coffee to have an extra income throughout the year.

The washing station has 200 raised drying beds, a washer separator, eco-depulpers, demuscilagers and a second low grade depulper. This station was originally built by the army who at that time was anticipating to process big volumes of cherry and thus it has 8 fermentation tanks and a standard washing channel. The station also has a cherry sorting shed with raised tables to allow for additional cherry sorting before depulping.

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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.