Rubyiniro, Coko Sector
Musasa Dukunde Kawa Cooperative
The Musasa Dukunde Kawa cooperative has three washing stations lying high in Rwanda’s rugged northwest. Mbilima was built by the co-op in 2005 with profits earned from their first washing station, at a vertiginous 2,020 metres above sea level, and is one of Rwanda’s highest washing stations.
The level of care that Musasa Dukunde Kawa Mibilima takes over the 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 hours) and then graded again using flotation channels that sort the coffee by weight (the heaviest – or A1 – usually being the best). The wet parchment is then soaked in water for between 18 and 24 hours to stabilise 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 greens (unripes) are still visible when the beans are damp, while the roofs over the tables protect the beans from the direct sunlight. Next, the beans are moved onto the washing station’s extensive drying tables for around 14 days (depending on the weather), where they are sorted again for defects, turned regularly and protected from rain and the midday sun by covers, ensuring both even drying and the removal of any damaged or ‘funny looking’ beans.
Speciality Coffee Suppliers