Nova Coffee is a producers’ group led by Agnes Mukamushinja and her husband, Felix Hitayezu. This offering comes from 80 farmers belonging to the Dukorere Kawa Bukure womens’ cooperative, who sell a portion of their coffee cherries directly to Nova to produce this dry-processed lot. We purchased a very small amount of this coffee last year, and it was a stunning, wonderfully well-received offering that we are thrilled to reintroduce to the menu longer-term this year.
We learned about Agnes and Nova Coffee when two members of our team visited Rwanda in 2019, meeting Agnes in person. Since before starting Nova Coffee, Agnes and Felix have run a pharmacy in Kigali called Pharmacie Nova. Agnes’s father, like countless others, lost his decades-old coffee trees in the Rwandan genocide, and so Agnes and Felix saw the opportunity to buy and restore a decrepit old washing station as a chance to revitalize a community. Nova’s vision is to “drive socio-economic welfare through the enhancement of improved coffee farming practices,” and their mission statement is “being a women-centered washing station, Nova Coffee is committed to developing the neighbouring community into specialized coffee farmers that produce high-quality coffee as well as to enhance social cohesion in order to create jobs and eradicate poverty.” In the words of our importing partners at Crop to Cup, Agnes and the Nova team are “truly socially motivated dreamers” - precisely the partners we seek and value throughout our supply chain.
The washing station that Agnes and Felix originally purchased is located in the village of Bukure, north of Kigali. Since then, Agnes joined Rwanda’s chapter of the International Womens’ Coffee Alliance, further collaborating with international non-profit TWIN to develop a brand called Le cafe de mamans, representing 263 mothers in the Berwa Cooperative, whose coffees are roasted and sold domestically. In addition to Berwa, Nova works with the Jyambere Muhinzi Wakawa and Dukorere Kawa cooperatives, the latter providing the coffee for this selection. Knowing Agnes’s character and work ethic, it is no surprise that she and her partners are producing some of the most phenomenal dry-processed coffees we have ever tasted from Rwanda. This year’s rendition is sticky sweet, with a wonderful balance of red fruits and sweet citrus. In the cup, we taste raspberry lollipop and Meyer lemon.