Rwanda Buf Ubumwe
Red Apple, Plum, Hibiscus Tea
Country/Region: Rwanda, Kamonyi District
Varietal: Red Bourbon
Elevation: 1550 - 1700 m.a.s.l.
We Taste: Red Apple, Plum, Hibiscus Tea
Buf Café was founded in 2003 by Epiphanie Mukashyaka, a dynamic businesswoman and source of inspiration in Rwanda’s coffee sector. Born in 1959, Epiphanie was widowed during the 1994 genocide which claimed over 800,000 lives. Choosing not to leave her family's small coffee farm, she managed to rebuild the business and the local community. Epiphanie and her son, Samuel Muhirwa, now run four washing stations – Remera, Nyarusiza, Umurage and Ubumwe, serving about 7,500 smallholder farmers.
The fourth washing station under Buf Café, Ubumwe has nutrient-rich soil that contribute directly to cherry ripeness and root development. It is also fortunate to have a dry mill and cupping lab facility in the same location, allowing immediate feedback to be given to the smallholder farmers that bring their coffee for processing.
Buf takes great care during processing, ensuring cherries are hand-picked at optimal ripeness and pulped on the same evening, using a mechanical pulper that separates the beans into three grade by weight. After pulping, the coffee is fermented overnight for 12-18 hours, and then graded again using flotation channels that sort the coffee by weight. The wet parchment is soaked in water for around 24 hours to stabilise the moisture content.
After the soak, the coffee is moved on the pre-drying tables, where they are sorted for around six hours. This is done while the coffee is still wet, as the unripe green coffee is still identifiable at this stage. The roofs over the tables protect the coffee from the hard direct sunlight.
Next, the coffee is moved onto extensive drying tables, where they are sorted again for defects. The coffee is covered in the midday to protect against the noon sun, and is turned regularly for even drying. The coffee stays here for about 14 days, depending on the weather, until the moisture content reaches about 11%. The coffee is then stored in parchment, until the final dry-milling stage.