Rwanda - Vunga - Washed
RWANDA - KCRS - WASHED
Rwanda is blessed with ideal coffee growing conditions that include high altitude, regular rainfall, volcanic soils with good organic structure and an abundance of the Bourbon coffee variety. The vast majority of Rwandan coffee is produced by smallholders of which there are thought to be around half a million, they often have no more than just one hectare per family. Coffee is grown in most parts of the country, with particularly large concentrations along Lake Kivu and in the southern province. Rwandan smallholders organise themselves into cooperatives and share the services of centralised wet-mills – or washing stations as they are known locally. Flowering takes place between September and October and the harvest runs from March to July, with shipments starting in late May, early June.
Vunga Cooperative Families is a woman-led, well-established small cooperative. They began their partnership with Muraho Trading Co, who help affiliate cooperatives increase their quality of production, fetch a higher price for their coffee, and introduce them to new markets, in 2017. The cooperative itself however, has been in operation since 2009. Vunga's producers receive bonus second payments as well as health insurance through the cooperative.
Vunga is a well-known washing station, though it is located in an area of Rwanda where very little coffee is produced. It has a reputation for producing extremely high-quality coffee, placing 13th in the Rwanda Cup of Excellence in 2012 and 4th in 2014. In 2020, the region was hit by an environmental disaster. Landslides and persistent rainfall which spread across the region, caused monumental damage to communities and their livelihoods. Through the support of the coffee community, importers and Muraho Trading Co were able to help support the rebuilding efforts.
All of Vunga's cherry is hand-sorted before a pre-pulp float. Underripe or damaged cherry is removed, along with any foreign objects. Cherries are then floated in pre-pulping tanks removing any floaters and later pulped. Next, the coffee is fermented in dedicated concrete fermentation tanks for an average of 12 hours. During this time, the fermented parchment is agitated several times throughout the day to encourage lower density parchment to float and to clean any residual mucilage of the parchment.
After fermentation, coffee is released into a large serpentine grading channel. This process also separates parchment into different density grades. Once the parchment is separated into grades, it is given a final post-wash rinse. At this point, coffee is then taken to a pre-drying area where the parchment is hand-sorted removing any insect- damaged, discoloured or chipped coffee. The parchment is laid out to dry and turned on a regular basis throughout the day for 30 days.
Chamomile, Pomegranate, Earl Grey Tea