Fruity, sweet, chocolate.
Body round, acidity integrated.
Located in Nymasheke, a district with an altitude of approximately 1,500 – 1,800 metres above sea level, the Mbizi washing station is managed under the tutelage of the WCE (Woman Coffee Extension). The WCE is an association that endeavours to bring together women farmers and provide new economic opportunities throughout the coffee value chain. Their goal is to provide these women with teaching and training, empowering them to earn a living through sale of their own products, and in turn acting as a vehicle for social change in their lives.
Many of these women are widows or orphans of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide and as a result have had to earn a living and support families by themselves. The latest WCE projects act as life insurance for these women farmers and also contribute to the distribution of drinking water.
Hand-selected by farmers and delivered to the Mbizi washing station, after intake the cherries are floated and divided according to weight, with first grade cherries sinking to the bottom of the tank. Following this initial selection, the high-density cherry is sorted by hand to remove any visible defects. They are taken to a disc pulper before being placed in fermentation tanks and dry fermented, with the mucilage, for 20 to 24 hours. Wet parchment is then washed with clean water and placed in very thin layers on African beds to be dried in the sun. The coffee is sifted regularly to obtain a uniform drying, a process that takes about 22 days.
Introduced in 1904 by German missionaries, the history of coffee in Rwanda is an important one. The climate, altitude and the predominance of the Bourbon variety give its coffee a quality that is second to none.
At the beginning of the 1990s, coffee was Rwanda’s most lucrative export product with some 45 thousand tons being shipped out of the country, supporting many small farmers.
In 1994, a terrible genocide killed nearly a million people. Much of the specialised coffee-growing knowledge was destroyed along with it, deeply affecting the country’s economy.
Today, this country produces less than half the coffee it exported in 1990. However, despite the tragic events that have shaken its recent history, Rwanda retains its enormous potential in the coffee sector.
The PEARL Aid Plan (The Partnership for Enhancing Agriculture in Rwanda through Linkages) was designed in 2000, with the objective of rebuilding agricultural institutions, production capacity and human capital. Now, small coffee growers can sell directly to expert specialty coffee buyers, receiving high prices for an exceptional product.
Today, approximately 420,000 people in Rwanda are directly or indirectly related to the coffee industry. Quality coffee has a more stable price than commercial coffee, and this has led to an improvement in the quality of life of many coffee farmers and their families. In addition, coffee also contributes to the reconciliation of the main ethnic groups: Hutus and Tutsis; we now see them working together, shoulder to shoulder, to produce more and better coffee.
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