Mbilima, Rwanda
This coffee comes from the Mbilima washing station which is owned by the Dukundekawa Co-operative. The washing station is located in the rugged north-west in the town of Musasa, at around 1,800 metres above sea level. Close to the famous Virunga (Volcanoes) National Park, this part of the world has mineral rich soil and a lush environment loved by the endangered mountain gorillas.

This year’s lot is only 25 bags in size and we chose it for it’s stand out quality and distinct flavor profile. By Rwandan standards, the Mbilima washing station is quite small, representing only 300 local producers in the area. 40 seasonal workers are employed by the washing station - of which 95% are women.

Dukundekawa now owns three washing stations (in addition to Mbilima they own another small washing station called Nkara and a larger washing station called Ruli (previously known as Gatagara) and have around 1,816 contributing members, of which 33% are female farmers. Dukunde Kawa has incredibly been recognised in the Rwandan Cup of Excellence competition in years 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and most recently in the 2015 competition, winning 21st.

In the last year there have been some great improvements at the washing station. Most notably, the addition of a mechanic cherry sorter, which divides the ripe from under rip cherries. These machines are expensive and difficult to get to the rural washing station so it’s a big deal and an excellent investment made by the cooperative. This kind of decision is a great example of how the Dukunde Kawa cooperative thinks about and appreciates the long term investment that are essential to produce high quality coffee.

We were able to visit Mbilima again this year for the 4th time. We caught up with long time manager Jean-Bosco and were able to see the new mechanical sorter in action! This year we were also able to meet and visit the home and coffee farm of 52 year old Andre. Owning and managing the production of 3,600 coffee trees, Andre is the 4th largest producer at Mbilima and has been farming coffee for 32 years.
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