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Rwanda - Sovu Women's Coffee

Rwanda - Sovu Women's Coffee

Regular price $19.00 AUD
Regular price Sale price $19.00 AUD
Sale Sold out
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Origine: Huye District, Southern Province, Rwanda     
Variety: Red bourbon
Process: Washed
Elevation: 1,760 MASL

This special microlot was produced using coffee cherry from 32 women farmers who own and grow coffee on small farms in the hills surrounding Sovu washing station, in Rwanda’s Southern Province. The women are members of the Abizerwa Women’s Group, a women-led alliance within the Abahuzamugambi Ba Kawa Maraba Cooperative (or ‘Maraba’). In the local Kinyarwanda language, Abizerwa means “trusted people” – a fitting name for the group, given how much the members share support and resources with each other.
In collaboration with Abizerwa and international buyers, Maraba has assisted the women in processing and marketing their coffees as a separated ‘Women’s Coffee’ lot, which earns them an additional bonus payment on top of the quality premium all Dukunde Kawa members receive.

As the cooperative’s General Manager Theophile Biziyaremye explains: “While everything the cooperative does is first approved by the General Assembly, we started to have clients that requested women’s coffees. We started processing them separately because we had a market for them, and we made the efforts to reinforce and empower the project. After selling their coffee, the women receive the additional premiums from those particular customers — on top of the premiums they already receive for delivering high quality cherry.”

To distinguish their coffee and ensure it is processed separately, the women have organised to deliver cherry to the washing station on certain days of the week. The women’s lots are kept separate through the processing, milling and preparation stages. This is made possible because Maraba owns and operates its own dry mill, allowing them to process smaller lots individually, whilst minimising cost and maintaining excellent quality standards.

ABOUT SOVU WASHING STATION

Sovu washing station was established in 2005 and is the smallest of Maraba’s washing stations, servicing about 397 cooperative members who farm locally and 8 individual farmer groups. The washing station is located in the Huye Sector of Huye District, in Rwanda’s Southern Province. Day operations are overseen by Jean Claude Ndikumana, who is supported by the Head of Quality Control, Christine Ilibagiza.

Maraba, and specifically the Sovu washing station, has consistently been recognised for quality including numerous Cup of Excellence awards in 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2015. This is no small accomplishment, and this year’s offering is right up there with these exceptional lots. The cooperative has recently upgraded cherry sorting equipment and a water treatment facilities at each of their washing stations. They have also constructed a warehouse, where the coffee is safely stored before being transported to Kigali for final stages of milling and preparation for export.

The area around Sovu washing station has ideal growing conditions for high-quality coffee, with high elevations, good rainfall and steady, cool temperatures year-round. Typically, farms are very small – averaging just a fifth of a hectare and are situated around 1,800 meters above sea level. Most washing stations in Rwanda receive cherry from hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of farmers who own very small plots of land. Separation of such tiny lots is expensive and impractical, so the large majority of coffees are processed as a mixed lot from multiple producers. Typically, lots are separated as day lots (ie. cherries that were all picked on the same day) rather than from a single farm or producer group.

We roast on every Wednesday and dispatch on Thursday.

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