Origin: Gatare Washing Station

Communal smallholder farmers

Gatare is a washing station in the West of Rwanda, in the district of Nyamasheke and lies close to Nyungwe Forest. It is one of the oldest and one of the bigger washing stations in Rwanda.

This area in particular has ideal soil for growing coffee, the washing station was constructed in 2003 to take advantage of this fact. Coffee from Gatare was submitted to the Cup of Excellence competition in 2011 and came 6th, and again in 2013 and placed 13th. This year Gatare is under new ownership, and there are plans to further invest in the surrounding farmers and their community to ensure the good relationships that already exist are maintained. They are running a programme that farmers can enrol in, in order to receive training and support. They have also committed to continue to make second payments of any premiums received for the coffee’s coming from Gatare.

We believe the coffees from Gatare are showing a lot of potential, given the location and elevation along with the commitment from the new owners to work with farmers in a transparent and community impacting way, we are looking forward to seeing these coffees develop.

This year we are the sole provider of these coffees to the European market.

Picking and selection

The season for Rwanda can run from March through to August, but for the most part we are finding our selections coming from May to July picking of cherry. This can always shift a little depending on the weather and the altitude the coffee is being grown at.

Farms are generally very small, families that are having some land with coffee trees and who take care of the plants and pick the cherries themselves. Usually they will also have some subsistence farming, there are occasionally farmers with more land.

Farmers will either carry their cherry by foot or bicycle to Gatare washing station for processing.

Competition for cherry can be pretty tough, farmers can deliver to whichever washing station they want. Hence why building and maintaining strong relationships with the surrounding farmers is essential to maintain quality. Training programs are put in place to help farmers manage selective picking and sorting.

Cherry reception

Cherry is received at the washing station, where farmers are asked to ensure that they deliver selectively picked cherry and to sort what they have picked themselves, removing the under and overripe cherry.

The cherry is then weighed and member farmers are either given payment directly or are issued with a slip for payment at a later date.

Fermentation, washing and drying

The climate through most of the season in Rwanda is relatively cool, which assists in controlling the fermentation process. After cherries have been pulped by a traditional 3 disc pulper, removing the skin, pulp and grading the coffees into three grades A, B and C. The coffee is dry fermented for up to 16 hours, depending on the temperature of the climate at the time. The parchment is then washed and graded again in channels, here there are two grades based on density of the bean, then soaked under clean water in tanks for 12 hours.

The parchment is initially taken to pre-drying tables, which are under shade, and where while the parchment is still wet, a lot of hand sorting is done as it is much easier to see defects at this point. The parchment is then taken to the larger shade drying facility where it is continually sorted and turned during the four weeks it takes to dry under shade.

Coffee Rwanda Gatare #62
Farmer Various small holders
Variety Red Bourbon
Process Fully washed
Altitude 1800 m
Sourced By Nordic Approach
Region Nyamasheke
Harvest 2017

Cupping Notes

Mandarin, lemongrass, rosehip