Farm: Caferwa: Cyebumba Washing station (KZ Noir)
Varietal: 100% Red Bourbon
Processing: Fully washed & dried on raised beds
Altitude: Washing Station: 1,491 meters above sea levelFarms: 1,477 to 1,700 meters above sea level
Owner: 1,200 farmers total; 180 farmers from Cocakiru co-op
Town / City: Rubavu
Region: Kivumu Sector, Rutsiro District of Western Province
Caferwa Cyebumba Lot 1 - Rwanda
CAFERWA’s Cyebumba washing station lies on the northern shores of Lake Kivu, in the Rutsiro District of Western Province. It was founded in 2007 and is one of four washing stations making up the CAFERWA Coffee Company (the other three, Nkora, Shangi and Buliza are quite distant. Although the washing station lies at 1,491 metres above sea level, coffee around Cyebumba is grown at altitudes of up to 1,900 metres.
Some 600 smallholder farmers from the local area deliver cherries to Cyebumba. Almost all of these farms are very small - typically less than a quarter a hectare each. Most farmers use their small plots to produce both coffee (300 - 800 trees per farm on average) and subsistence food crops such as maize and beans to feed their families. The ripe cherries are picked by hand and then delivered to the washing station, usually in baskets on farmers’ heads and occasionally on bicycles or trucks.
Once the cherries have been delivered to Cyebumba they are carefully hand-sorted to make sure only red cherries are accepted. They are then pulped the same day - almost always in the evening - using a mechanical pulper that divides the beans into three grades. After pulping, the coffee is fermented overnight (for around 12 hours) and then graded again using flotation channels that sort the coffee by weight (heaviest – or A1 – being regarded as the best). The beans are then soaked for a further 24 hours, before being moved to raised screens for ‘wet-sorting’ by hand. This final task is almost always carried out by women and is of huge importance to quality control.
The sorted beans are first pre-dried on raised beds in the shade for 2 to 3 days depending on the quality of the parchment, which ensures the removal of surface moisture and any water lingering between the parchment and the bean. Afterwards, the parchment is moved onto beds in the sun, where they are repeatedly turned and sorted – ensuring both even drying and the removal of any damaged or ‘funny looking’ beans. When coffee reaches 12% humidity, it is stored in parchment in carefully labeled lots until it is ready for export. The coffee is then sent to be dry milled in Kigali, from where it is loaded and shipped.
Lots are usually separated out by days. Upon delivery as cherry, the coffee receives a paper ‘ticket’ that follows the lot through all its processing. This ticket bears the date of harvest and the grade (A1, A2 etc) of the coffee – for instance, if a coffee lot is called ‘Lot 1- 06/04 - A1’, this means it was the first lot processed on April 4 and the grade is A1. This simple but effective practice is a crucial tool in controlling quality and ensuring the traceability of lots.
Caferwa Ltd was founded in 1995 with the objective of exporting coffee to all parts of the world. In 1998 the company stopped its operations due to the global coffee crisis until 2003 when it resumed its coffee export business with the help of KZ Noir, but with the new objective of specializing in high quality coffee. Their ownership of the Kigali dry mill allows them full control of quality of all points along the supply chain – attention to detail that has paid off several times in the country’s Cup of Excellence competitions.
Caferwa provides health care for cooperative members and plans to build dispensaries in all the regions where they work in the near future. Furthermore, the company encourages their member producers through quality bonuses and supplies them with various technical inputs, such as fertilizer.