Rwanda – Kanzu #6
REGION: Nyamasheke, Western Province
PRODUCERS: Many smallholder farmers
VARIETAL: Heirloom bourbon varietal
PROCESSING: Fully washed, then dried on raised beds
HARVEST: April/May 2017
This is the fourth year in a row that we have purchased coffee from the Kanzu washing station via Red Fox Coffee Importers. Harvest and processing lasts over 20 weeks at Kanzu, and this year, we’ve selected week 6. This coffee highlights the value of community coffee washing stations in countries where farmers work smaller farms. 10 years ago, Rwandan coffee wasn’t very good. Now it can rank among the best in the world. Why? Well, in 2002, there were two washing stations in Rwanda, and as of 2012 there were 214. Washing coffee gives a more consistent product vs. dry processing, making it safer to process and more profitable for the farmer in the end. Unfortunately, most washing stations operate at about half capacity in Rwanda. Smaller farmers have lacked the ability to wait 6 months or more to receive premiums for the sale of a specialty coffee through a washing station/co-operative, so they would dry process it themselves and sell it immediately at commodity prices. Without private financing, stations lack the ability to operate properly, let alone pay farmers for coffee upfront. By working with Red Fox on this coffee every year, farmers can avoid having to take less money today because they can’t wait for the chance of more money tomorrow. We’ve seen the quality of this coffee increase many times over with each year’s harvest and we look forward to its arrival every winter.
This coffee is sweet and comforting, and tastes like molasses, gingerbread, plum and tobacco.