This coffee comes from the Huye Mountain washing station in the Huye District of southern Rwanda. The washing station is owned by David Rubanzangabo, a local entrepreneur who grew up in the area and who cares deeply about supporting the 1330 smallholders who grow coffee in this area and use his station. David pays fair prices to the growers, with extra premiums for high quality coffee. He also provides additional support through things such as micro-loans, paying school fees, and providing health insurance. He also initiated a water reduction programme, and recycles water used for pulping to reduce the water used at the station by a third.
David’s drive for quality has brought about a big increase in prices for local farmers. Confirmation of the high levels of quality that they are producing is Huye’s success in the Cup of Excellence, winning 2nd place in 2012, and 6th and 11th in 2013 with two competing lots.
During harvest season, producers deliver their freshly picked coffee cherries to 26 collecting stations around the Huye community, where a truck visits daily to collect coffee. Typically, a small holding in the district is just a quarter of a hectare in size, with around 200 trees. The yield is about 4kg of cherry per tree, so each farm only produces roughly 2 bags of coffee. It is entirely Bourbon, which, coupled with an altitude ranging from 1,600 to 2,300 metres above sea level, brings about lots of complexity and great flavours in the cup.
Cherries delivered to the Huye Station and then floated and separated to remove any defective cherries. The coffee is then placed on the raised African beds at about 2cm of thickness where it is dried for up to 30 days with regular turning each hour and covering during at night time.