Mukashyaka - BUF Remara - Rwanda
Farm: Buf: Remera
Producer: Epiphanie Mukashyaka
Town : Between Butare and Cyangugu
Region: Gasaka Sector, Nyamagabe District of Southern Province
Varietal: Red Bourbons
Washing Station 1,935 metres above sea level
Farm Altitude: 1,750 to 2,100 metres above sea level
Processing: Sun dried on raised beds
Dry Aroma : Floral , Dry Figs
Wet Aroma : Zesty Lime
Taste: Bergamot, Figs
Structure: Sweet and Clean with bright acidity
Aftertaste: Milky Aftertaste
Suitable for: Filter, Cold Brew, Espresso
This 100% red bourbon coffee was processed at Buf Café’s Remera washing station, at 1,935 metres above sea level in the south of Rwanda.
Buf now owns two coffee washing stations at Remera and Nyarusiza, its own coffee trees and buys coffee cherries from about 264 surrounding smallholder farmers as well as three different local cooperatives! In 2014 at Buf’s Remera washing station, there was a total of 674,392kg of cherry delivered throughout the season, approximately 3% of which was delivered by trees owned by Epiphane and her family. The remaining quantity of delivered cherry comes from farmers within the community surrounding the washing station.
Buf has very strong links with the local communities that supply it, providing jobs for around 127 at Remera during peak harvest (May - June/July). Besides its 10 permanent positions, an additional 116 people are employed at Nyarusiza during harvest. At the end of each season, Buf will share any surplus profits with both the cooperatives that it works with and its washing station managers.
The majority of the small farmers in the area have an average of only 300 coffee trees within a quarter of a hectare of land. This plot will also include subsistence crops such as maize and beans. Most of the income from the sale of coffee is used for childhood education, medical care and investment in livestock such as a cow for milk, which is meant for household consumption and sale in local community.
The level of care that all Buf washing stations observes in processing is impressive. Cherries are hand-picked only when fully ripe and then pulped that same evening using a mechanical pulper that divides the beans into three grades by weight.
After pulping, the coffee is fermented overnight for around 12-18 hours. They are graded again using flotation channels that sort the coffee by weight, the heaviest, or A1, is usually considered the best. The wet parchment is then soaked in water for around 24 hours to stabilize moisture content.
As at most washing stations in Rwanda, women do the majority of the hand sorting. This takes place in two stages - on the covered pre-drying tables and on the drying tables. Washed beans are moved from the wet fermentation tanks onto the pre-drying tables, where they are intensively sorted under shade for around six hours. The idea is that unripen greens are still visible when the beans are damp, while the roofs over the tables protect the beans from direct sunlight. Next, the beans are moved onto the washing station’s extensive drying tables for around 14 suitable weather days. At this stage, they are sorted for defects, turned regularly and protected from rain and midday sun with covers, ensuring both even drying and the removal of any damaged or ‘funny looking’ beans. After reaching 11% humidity, the coffee is then stored in parchment in Sovu’s purpose-built warehouse prior to final dry-milling and hand-sorting at the Cooperative’s brand new dry mill in Kigali. Each coffee that arrives is also cupped by the Q-graders of Maraba’s exporting partner, Rwashocco.
Lots are first separated by collection point, then by days. Farmers usually hail from a radius of 3 km from each collection point. Upon delivery, the coffee receives a paper ticket that follows the lot through all its processing. This ticket bears the date of harvest, the collection point name, and the grade (A1, A2 etc) of the coffee. If a coffee lot is called ‘Lot 1- 06/04 - A1’, this means it was the first lot processed on April 4 and the grade is A1. This simple but effective practice is a crucial tool in quality control and ensures lots are easily traced.
We love the love that goes into this coffee and experiment it on cold brew, filter and espresso; the results are unspeakably amazing. We decided to keep a filter roast profile for this coffee because it brings out its best character.