Rwanda KCRS Women's Cooperative
Process: Fully washed
Tasting notes: Chocolate, rosehip, gooseberry, black tea, grapes. Syrupy, clean, crisp.
85% of the growers that make up Cooperative Coffee Rusiga Sector (KCRS) have their farms at 2000masl or higher. An incredibly diverse crop production happens on these smallholder plots, legumes, beans, sweet potatoes and more can be grown in between the coffee trees. This is not always to the benefit of the crop, but does allow income to be spread over the year as well as producing food for their own consumption. Typically you’ll find very small family plots with on average around 6 other crops.
Washed process in Rwanda typically looks a bit different to that which we understand elsewhere as washed. Fully washed denotes the process of pulping the coffee and allowing a 24 hour dry fermentation period before undergoing more traditional wet fermentation, followed by the typical soaking for 24 hours afterwards, more in line with what you would expect in Kenya. This yields a syrupy bodied coffee that tends to hold up very well as it ages. It’s not uncommon for a Rwanda to still be tasting great at 18 months or more if stored correctly.
This coffee is produced by women farmers. There are some male members of the families but the women took over ownership and charge of the land. The support that a small holder farmer often relies on has found to flourish under this structure and it is often now used as a methodology to help improve the coffee on a farm if an individual is struggling. We source the coffee through Kinini and Jacquie has been active in helping them to organise themselves since some of the women supplied coffee to them.
As Jacquie herself says, “A few of them asked me for advice if I could help them form cooperative and get training from us. We then made different changes behind the scenes, got the necessary paperwork in place after few days the cooperative was registered. They then made 12 groups depending on [which] village is near to them making training and traveling much easy for all.”
“After all this was in place I promised them that I will market their coffee by the coop name. These women are now coffee expert farmers.”
Varietals are Bourbons Mayaguez and Jackson, as mandated by the government. The wet mill is centralised, and also mandated to a catchment area.