In 2006, Nyamagabe became the district that encompassed much of what used to be called the Gikongogo province. The Remera washing station in this district is one of the highest in the country sitting right at 1,950 meters. Producers in this area mainly grow tea and coffee as a cash crop and are very very tiny, owning generally just a few hundred coffee trees.
Rwanda as a whole, and the Rwandan coffee scene, is truly something to behold, and there is a reason more times than not coffee professionals turn to Rwanda as the success story of all success stories. As many people reading this know, Rwanda went through one of the worst human atrocities in the genocide which occurred in 1994. Not just after the genocide, but really after decades of civil war and violence, Rwanda started rebuilding in the late 1990's looking towards many industries as the way towards a better future. The tech industry has been a huge place Rwanda has invested, but they also turned to the agricultural industries, and coffee in particular.
Rwanda originally built a few coffee washing stations around the country in mid 1900's, and a handful of other before the 2000's, but again due to the ongoing conflict and internal challenges the coffee market didn't take off like other countries in East Africa. In 2001, though, the PEARL project recognized that there was huge potential and within a decade there are now coffee washing stations all over the entire country. These washing stations were able to take a product that was receiving at or below commodity prices, to a coffee that is often sought after by professionals around the world and in total has more than doubled the prices being paid to some producers.
The Rwandan genocide of 1994 had millions of victims. One of them was Epiphanie Mukashyaka, whose husband was killed in the tragic events of that time. Epiphanie sought to continue her husband's coffee company, and was one of the first to grasp onto the hope of super high-quality coffee, a business previously unknown in Rwanda. Epiphanie helped found the Bufcafe coffee operation which over time has become one of the greatest coffee producers in Rwanda. Epiphanie's son, Samuel Muhirwa, now manages the Bufcafe washing stations and dry mill today, and is constantly working to produce the best product.
Variety: Bourbon Types (French Mission, Jackson, Mbirizi, Pop)
Elevation: 1,950 meters
Process: Washed; Dry-fermentation for 12-18 hours, washing, then soaked in clean water for 12-24 hours
Drying: Raised beds. Coffee is protected under shade on raised beds for the first day, then put out in the sun. Once out in the sun it takes about 2 weeks for the coffee to be at the right moisture. (It is of good note that the coffee is also covered in the middle of the day to protect against the sun.) All the care taken in the drying is certainly one of the reasons this coffee tastes great and pristine even after long delays in shipping.
Harvest Time: April 2013 - July 2013