March subscriptions give a nod to previous travels in Rwanda
March 04, 2024

March subscriptions give a nod to previous travels in Rwanda

Mark and Jean may be newly back from Kenya but this month's subscriptions have brought back memories for Mark of earlier travels. One of the coffees winging its way to subscribers this month is the Bumbogo, a washed coffee sourced from Muraho Trading Company, which Shiloh works with in Rwanda.

By partnering with Muraho, through Raw Material, Shiloh supports the affiliate co-operatives in Rwanda to increase their production quality, attract a higher price for the coffee they produce, and bring their coffee to new markets.

Two rows of staff process coffee by hand at drying racks in the Bumbago Washing Station in Rwanda

Muraho has washing stations in Rwanda's Nyamasheke, Gakenke and Nyabihu regions. Bumbogo Washing Station is run by Muraho's director of quality, Emmanual Rusatira, and was built by Neza Trading Company, which partners with Muraho.

Last summer Mark visited Rwanda and got to visit a variety of places including the Bumbogo Washing Station. Here is his experience in his own words:

"What an experience! As we drove over the mountains we could see such beauty - valleys upon valleys. Banana trees, maize, peas and avocados to name a few of the crops we saw.

"We arrived at the washing station to a traditional welcome from the staff - beautiful dancing and singing with drums giving them a beat.

"They talked us though the selling process from the locals who grow coffee. Firstly, the coffee is weighed and hand sorted to separate the good quality from the bad. The coffee is put in water to separate what floats from what sinks.

"Coffee that sinks is put into another tank. This is the best quality coffee and will sell for the best price. Coffee that floats is not such good quality and will be sold for a lower price.

"After this sorting, the coffee cherry that sank is processed using either washed, natural or honey process to produce specialty coffee.

"For natural it goes right onto the drying table. For the honey process (which actually has nothing to do with honey) some of the mucilage - the coffee cherry fruit around the bean - is removed.

"Fully washed is pulped, stamped on to get the mucilage off and then washed again to get rid of sugars to control fermented over night. They are then again hand sorted and put on to drying tables and dried.

"The most important part about drying is making sure the moisture hits 11 per cent. This process can take anywhere from five days to 35 days most commonly but they have seen up to 70 days. The longer the naturals take to dry the better they taste.

"The visit to the Bumbago Washing Station and my travels throughout my Rwanda trip made me realise we are working with amazing suppliers whose values encourage us to do better. It also reminded me of how our amazing customers had supported fundraising efforts in 2020 to support the Rwandan farmers after flooding in the country.

"Seeing our roastery and our customers join forces to support our suppliers is at the heart of what we want to do at Shiloh, to build meaningful links with the farmers who grow our ethical coffee and make sure everyone involved in its production is treated fairly and given the chance to succeed."

Coffee from the Bumbogo Washing Station will be arriving with our subscribers imminently, if is hasn't already arrived.

If you're not a subscriber but have been inspired to try this coffee, good news; we've got a limited amount left so you can try it too. Click here to place your order while stocks last.

See part of the production process for the Rwanda Bumbogo coffee in this video: