Rwanda- Sholi Cooperative - RFA

Rwanda- Sholi Cooperative -  RFA

Rwanda- Sholi Cooperative - RFA

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Cupping Notes: dark chocolate, butterscotch, blood orange, plum

About This Coffee

This fully washed and Rainforest Alliance-certified lot comes from the Abateraninkunga ba Sholi Cooperative in the Muhanga district of the Southern Province of Rwanda. The Coop was established in 2008 by 30 women living and growing coffee in the region as a conscious effort to invigorate the local economy. "Abateraninkunga" translates to "mutual assistance" and aimed to include farmers with similar values to join. Today there are 334 producers, 42% of them women, growing coffee at altitudes of 1800-2000 masl. The Coop became Fair Trade certified in 2015 - the same year they won the Rwanda Cup of Excellence Award. At a washing station that the coop owns collectively, individual producers bring their self-cultivated coffees to be sorted, processed, and sun-dried on raised beds, following the traditional East African fully washed process. 

Country of Origin: Rwanda

Region: Muhanga District

Producer Type: Cooperative

Farm Name: Various Smallholders

Processing: Washed

Processing Description: 12-18 hour fermentation, Sun Dried on African Raised Beds

Growing Altitude: 1800 MASL - 2000 MASL

Plant Species: Arabica

Varietal: Red Bourbon

Certifications: Rain Forest Alliance Certified (IP)

History of Coffee in Rwanda 

The commercialization of coffee came about gradually in Rwanda and coffee was always produced on smallholder farms. Independence brought some improvement to the coffee infrastructure as the government established more modern and centralizing processing. But this meant the government set the price they would pay for coffee and farmers had no other options. There was no focus on quality because there was no incentive whatsoever. Despite much of the coffee being Bourbon, there was no sorting or grading so all the coffee was commercial grade. Rwanda exported 642,000 bags of coffee in 1993 and 447,000 in 1994. Then, as something of a stark reminder of the genocide, Rwanda exported a mere 22,000 bags in 1995. Today, Rwanda exports only 43% of what it did in 1993, but current exports represent much greater value because for the last 20 years the focus has been on quality rather than quantity, supported by various initiatives of the Rwandan government and international NGOs. 

Growing Coffee in Rwanda

Rwanda’s ideal growing conditions are no longer wasted on poor processing. New washing stations have opened in all coffee growing regions, innovative cupping labs that arrive built into shipping containers, and cooperatives have been established. The vast majority of Rwanda's smallholder farmers grow high-quality Bourbon, well-suited to the high altitudes and volcanic soil of the region. For the last 10 years, Rwandan specialty coffees consistently rank among the finest in the world. 

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