Rwanda Dukunde Kawa
A delicious floral organic Rwandan coffee with notes of red fruits, pear and black tea.
|Musasa, Gakenke district, Northern Province|
About the coffee
Dukundu Kawa means “let’s love coffee” in Kinyarwanda.
The Dukunde Kawa Cooperative was established in 2000 with help from USAID’s SPREAD program that was dedicated to the development of specialty coffee in Rwanda. The cooperative became Fairtrade Organic certified in 2004.
The cooperative built their first washing station, Ruli, in 2003. To fund this, they received a development loan from the Rwandan government and support from the USAID-financed project PEARL. Initially, the cooperative grouped 300 coffee producers. Dukunde Kawa built their second washing station, Mblima, with profits from the first washing station, in 2005. Nowadays, the cooperative has 4 washing stations in total, of which Musasa is the largest, to serve their more than 2100 members. 80% of contributing farmers are women. The cooperative is important to communities as an employer and as a community support system. Dukunde Kawa offers basket weaving projects, access to grain mills, a milk pasteurization facility, loans to producers for school fees and medical expenses as well as agricultural training.
Since more farmers have only small lots with 200-300 trees, washing stations give them the opportunity to combine their lots and use high-quality processing methods to attain higher prices.
Cherries are handpicked only when fully ripe and then pulped in mechanical pulper that divides the beans into three grades according to weight. Following pulping, the coffee is fermented for around 12 hours, usually overnight, and then graded through flotation channels that sort beans by weight where the heaviest–A1–are considered the best. They then soak the wet parchment in water for 18-24 hours to stabilize moisture content.
In Rwanda, women do the bulk of hand sorting at most washing stations. Hand sorting happens in two stages. First, on the covered pre-drying tables and then again on the drying tables. As washed beans are transferred from the wet fermentation tanks to the pre-drying tables, they are sorted intensively for approximately 6 hours. This is the ideal time to pick out greens (unripe beans) because they are most visible when damp.
After pre-drying sorting, the beans are moved to drying tables where they sit for about 14 days. They are turned regularly and sorted for defects. Covers protect the beans from midday sun and rain, making sure the beans dry evenly and that damaged or odd beans are removed. By the time they reach 11% humidity, the coffee is stored in parchment in the warehouse before final dry-milling and hand sorting at the cooperatives dry mill in Kigali.