Gaseke washing station’s position above the Nyakabuye Valley gives it optimal sun exposure, creating consistent and controlled drying conditions. This natural advantage, combined with the careful work of both farmers and the station’s employees and manager, creates a superb Washed coffee with all the flavor you expect of a high-quality Rwanda.
The route to Gaseke washing station follows the borders of Burundi and Congo in the southernmost corner of Western Rwanda. The station, built in 2016, enjoys incredible views of the Nyakabuye Valley below. While the elevation of Gaseke station is slightly lower than many of the stations along the shores of Lake Kivu, its orientation offers maximum sun exposure, a precious resource necessary for this method of drying cherry and parchment.
There are 396 farmers who work the land surrounding Gaseke station and deliver cherry to the station. Of those farmers, nearly one-quarter are female and another one-quarter are youth. Farmers in the region frequently intercrop coffee with rice, potatoes and maize. These crops typically serve as long-lasting food crops that provide sustenance for the family throughout the year.
Gaseke station’s symbiotic relationship with another nearby station, Mashesha, allows the area’s coffee production to have its cake and eat it too. Since Mashesha sits at a lower elevation at the bottom of a hill, it has focused on producing larger volumes and have fewer specialty lots. Gaseke station, which has optimal sun exposure, focuses more on producing specialty lots and thus, produces smaller volumes.
The benefits from the collaboration of the two stations are twofold. For the farmers, Mashesha and Gaseke stations, with their different needs, represent two very different markets and enable farmers to sell a much larger portion of their cherry. For roasters, the two stations mean that coffee from this area will be both plentiful and high quality, which satisfies every need and price point.
Harvest & Post-Harvest
Cherry is handpicked by farmers and brought to Gaseke station daily. Cherry is sorted to remove defects and then pulped before being fermented for 12 to 18 hours.
After fermentation, parchment is washed in clean water before being spread in thin layers to dry on raised beds. Once here, the coffee is regularly sifted to ensure even drying and is sorted to remove any visible defects and imperfections. The station’s position gives it excellent sun exposure that enables consistent and controlled drying.
Our partner, Sucafina Rwanda (Rwacof) invests heavily in farmer training and good agricultural practices. Rwacof’s Farmer Field School shares information with all their producer partners about best agricultural practices, conservation tactics, the importance of picking only ripe cherry and more.
Furthermore, Rwacof is focused on improving the financial situation of the farmers with whom they work. Annual bonuses are always distributed once the coffee is sold. As part of Sucafina’s innovative Farmer Hub program, these second payments are deposited into zero-fee bank accounts. Second payments are typically given as cash. Through our Farmer Hub program, these bank accounts offer wider-reaching benefits, including more secure storage for their money and the opportunity to build a financial credit history & give them access to credit lines with better interest rates.
Above all, Rwacof’s exceptional attention to detail during post-harvest activities ensures the best quality coffee possible. From the moment cherry enters the washing station until it is milled and bagged for export, Rwacof keeps stringent quality controls in place. They know, as we do, that high quality coffee is crucial for delivering benefit all along the supply chain.