Mushonyi Fully Washed

Coffees from Mushonyi washing station never fail to impress, and this lot is no exception. Sweet and clean, floral and fruity, this Fully Washed lot from Mushonyi washing station is everything you want from a Rwandan coffee.

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Coffee Grade:
FW Scr. 15
Mushonyi washing station
Red Bourbon
Fully washed
Washing station - 1,827 meters above sea level; Farmers - 1,600 to 1,950 meters above sea level
1,213 growers working with RWACOF
Rutsiro District
Western Province
Farm Size:
300 trees on average
Bag Size:
60kg GrainPro
Harvest Months:
March - June

About This Coffee

Mushonyi washing station is situated just one kilometer away from the shores of Lake Kivu. The 1,200 growers that deliver cherry to this station live and farm on the hills surrounding Mushonyi. In these hills, the altitude can vary from a low of 1,600 meters above sea level to a high of 1,950 meters above sea level. Farmers, on average, cultivate about 300 coffee trees on their small plots. Many also intercrop bananas, eucalyptus and cassava to generate additional income.  

Mushonyi was originally built by the army. At the time, the army was anticipating high volumes of cherry, and they built to size. The station has eight fermentation tanks, a standard washing channel and cherry sorting shed for additional sorting before cherry is pulped. Rwacof maintains this infrastructure in pristine condition, even in years when the washing station’s capacity exceeds the volume of cherry delivered. 

Harvest & Post-Harvest

After purchasing cherry from producers, Mushonyi sends the cherry through a strict sorting process. First, washing station staff remove any lower quality cherry through flotation. Then, a specially trained staff visually inspects the remaining cherry for any visual defects. 

After the cherry is sorted, it is passed through a pulper. Mushonyi is equipped with a Pinhalense eco-pulper that can process up to 2 tons per hour. The machine integrates the flotation process and mechanical mucilage removal in its flow. From the hopper, the cherry flows into a basin. Here, the machine skims off the floaters and feeds them into a different channel for pulping. The good-quality cherry sinks and flows into a channel to be processed as high-quality.

Then, the coffee goes through a 10-hour fermentation in concrete tanks. Following fermentation, parchment is passed through a washing and grading channel.  As the beans flow through, wooden bars that are laid across the canal prevent beans of specific densities from passing through. These bars are spaced across the channel. While the first blockade stops the most-dense beans, the next is arranged to stop the second most-dense beans and so on. In total, the process separates the parchment into five different grades.

Separated parchment is laid on raised beds to dry. Workers sort through drying parchment to remove any remaining defects that may have gotten through the previous steps. Parchment is raked frequently to ensure even drying. 

RWACOF (Sucafina in Rwanda)

In concert with our sustainability partner, Kahawatu Foundation, RWACOF invests heavily in yield improvements, farmer training, quality improvement projects, environmental sustainability and other ways to increase farmer livelihoods.

RWACOF’s Farmer Development Program in partnership with the London School of Economics (LSE) supports farmers with training in Good Agricultural Practices and access to loans, farm inputs and farm services. A new soil health initiative uses soil analysis data that RWACOF collected to identify farms where soil is too acidic. Lime, along with education about application, is distributed to these farmers to help improve soil quality. Additionally, seedling nurseries provide up to 4 million seedlings per year to help farmers renovate their rootstock.

RWACOF also has many projects that are designed to support farmers’ overall livelihoods. They focus on gender equality and support several women’s cooperatives by helping them access land, seedlings and reach a market for their coffees. They offer trainings on financial literacy and alternative income-generating activities.

The Farmer Hub program built retail shops that buy other crops from farmers and sell them to families and schools at fair prices. These retail shops help promote income diversification by creating a market for other crops and they supply nutritious foods at competitive prices. The Farmer Hub program also offers loans to farmers as part of the farm management program.

On the environmental side, RWACOF has worked with partners to help install solar panels at 2 washing stations that are off the electrical grid. RWACOF’s dry mill already have a 50 kilowatt-per-hour solar panel set up on their roof. They’ve also mapped carbon emissions in their coffee supply chain and are starting projects to half their emissions per kg of coffee. Two ways they’re accomplishing this is by facilitating a transition from inorganic to organic fertilizer and further improve waste (water and pulp) management at the wet mills. They’re also working with Trade in Space to map deforestation in the supply chain so that they can begin to work with farmers to reduce deforestation and improve forested areas in the supply chain.

Above all, RWACOF's exceptional attention to detail during post-harvest activities ensures the best quality coffee possible. From the moment cherry enters the washing station until it is milled and bagged for export, RWACOF keeps stringent quality controls in place. They know, as we do, that high-quality coffee is crucial for delivering benefit all along the supply chain.

Coffee in Rwanda

Despite its turbulent history, today Rwanda is one of the specialty coffee world’s darlings – for good reason! Our sister company in Rwanda does an amazing job of bringing the best that Rwanda has to offer to roasters around the world.

German missionaries and settlers brought coffee to Rwanda in the early 1900s. Largescale coffee production was established during the 1930 & 1940s by the Belgian colonial government. Coffee production continued after the Belgian colonists left. By 1970, coffee had become the single largest export in Rwanda and accounted for 70% of total export revenue. Coffee was considered so valuable that, beginning in 1973, it was illegal to tear coffee trees out of the ground.

Between 1989 and 1993, the breakdown of the International Coffee Agreement (ICA) caused the global price to plummet. The Rwandan government and economy took a hard hit from low global coffee prices. The 1994 genocide and its aftermath led to a complete collapse of coffee exports and vital USD revenue, but the incredible resilience of the Rwandan people is evident in the way the economy and stability have recovered since then.

Modern Rwanda is considered one of the most stable countries in the region. Since 2003, its economy has grown by 7-8% per year and coffee production has played a key role in this economic growth. Coffee has also played a role in Rwanda's significant advancements towards gender equality. New initiatives that cater to women and focus on helping them equip themselves with the tools and knowledge for farming have been changing the way women view themselves and interact with the world around them.

Today, smallholders propel the industry in Rwanda forward. The country doesn’t have any large estates. Most coffee is grown by the 400,000+ smallholders, who own less than a  quarter of a hectare. The majority of Rwanda’s coffee production is Arabica. Bourbon variety plants comprise 95% of all coffee trees cultivated in Rwanda.

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