Rwanda, Gitega Hills
Location: Nyamagabe District, Cyanika Sector, Southern Rwanda
Owner: Bernard Uwitije
Varietals: Red Bourbon
Altitude: 1600 masl
In the cup: cranberries, brown sugar
Coffee cherry sorting at Gitega Hills, Rwanda
Coffee In Rwanda: GItega Hills
The Gitega Hill’s washing station is located in the Nyamagabe District of the southern province and is located very close to Nyungwe Forest and the traced source of the Nile River. Bernard Uwitije, a native of the area, had been trading non-washed ordinary coffee up until 2015 when he realised the potential for fully washed, speciality grade coffee. Despite being his first time in processing fully washed coffee, he could count on his overall experience and knowledge when establishing his wet mill. He equipped the station with a 1500kg Penagos machine, fermentation tanks and raised drying beds. These investments along with strong foresight, have yielded very high quality parchment in his first full year in operation.
The average farm supplying Gitega is at an altitude of around 16500m. This high altitude along with the volcanic soils of the area make Gitega an excellent location for high quality processing. One strategic area of collection is called Miko which is made up of approximately 165 coffee farming families. The Miko farms sit between 1700-1900m and have been consistent with strong yield and higher than average cup scores. Gitega Hills processed a little over 150 tons of cherry for the first year but the capacity of the station has it positioned for growth in the coming seasons.
Following the pulping of freshly delivered cherry, the coffee is wet fermented and then the beans are sorted by density using water filled grading channels. The wet parchment is dried under cover for 24 hours before being moved to uncovered drying beds for an average of 15 days. During this period, the coffee is continually hand sorted by an army of brightly clothed women who are meticulous in their removal of defect beans.
We are delighted to be able to offer one of only 2 lots available from Gitega this season and think the quality of the coffee speaks for itself. We look forward to working with the washing station in the future and are delighted to be able to support such a worthy start-up operation as this. It is what speciality coffee is all about in our opinion and we really do hope you enjoy this beautiful coffee.