After 15 years of experience in the Rwandan specialty coffee industry, Emmanuel and his family made the decision to buy and set up their own washing stations. The location and specific management of each station shows itself in unique cup profiles. The Rusatira family developed their own grading system and is continuously experimenting with washed, honeys, and naturals. All year round they work together with local farmers to support them on the field, and financially, so as to produce the best coffee cherries in the region, and boost quality, year after year.
We have been closely working with Emmanuel over the past year and bought some outstanding qualities from four of his washing stations: Fugi, Muzo, Humure and Bugoyi. Muzo Washing Station is Emmanuel’s smallest but one of the best in terms of quality. He sees a great future for this washing station, where he will focus on very small lots with outstanding cup profiles. Emma leased the station for 10 years and eventually bought it in 2018. The volcanic soil and good rainfall in this region offer ideal growing conditions. The climate is cooler than in the western part of the country and allows a unique and slow drying, creating a juicy, sweet and round cup profile.
Emmanuel supports farmers with access to fertilizers, helps them to check the condition of their trees and shares valuable knowledge about best farmer practices. Furthermore, he supports the farmers by covering their social insurance and giving them second payments at the end of the crop.
At Bugoyi Washing Station Emmanuel works with 1800 farmers, 80% of them are women. At this washing station he works with a new fermentation technique using traditional brewing pots called "Intango". The cherries are placed in the pots and mixed with water. The added water comes from the depulper and contains a high sugar level due to the mucilage of the cherries. The cherries stay in this pot for 120 hours. The fermentation process is slower and more controllable because the clay material of the pots does not absorb heat thus the cherries in the pots remain cool.
Emma is also experimenting with anaerobic processing. The cup profile differs depending on the conditions. Wet processing creates a livelier cup profile, while dry processing is more intense. After the coffee is fermented for 100 hours, the beans are spread on drying beds and turned every two hours. The beans are dried slowly by being protected from direct sunlight during the first five days.