Buf Ubumwe #11

Earl grey tea, sweet lemon and finishing with a peach note, medium to full body, mild acidity with a long aftertaste.

780฿2,920฿

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  • Country: Rwanda
  • Region: Kamonyi District, Southern Province.
  • Town: Kigali.
  • Farm: But Ubumwe.
  • Owner: Epiphanie Mukashyaka.
  • Processing: Fully Washed and sun dried on raised beds.
  • Altitude: 1,550 to 1,700 metres above sea level.
  • Varietal: 100% Red Bourbon.

This 100% Red Bourbon coffee was processed at Buf Coffee’s Ubumwe washing station (CWS), the fourth to be established by Buf, located at around 1,600 metres above sea level near the capital of Kigali. Buf Café was founded in 2003 by Epiphanie Mukashyaka, a dynamic businesswoman and a  source of inspiration to countless other female entrepreneurs in Rwanda’s coffee sector and beyond. Buf is managed by Epiphanie and her son, Samuel Muhirwa, who takes an active role in running and expanding the business. The title ‘Buf’ derives from ‘Bufundu’, the former name of the region in which its washing stations are located.

Ubumwe area has rich soil nutrients, especially Phosphorus, Potassium, Zinc and Boron, which are necessary for coffee growth and which contribute directly to cherry ripeness and root development. This nutritional difference has a huge impact on coffee growing and, therefore, Ubumwe CWS produces an outstanding quality coffee. Even though Ubumwe is near Kigali at a relatively low elevation, it receives cherries from approximately 500 farmers living at 1,550 to 1,700 metres above sea level. Ubumwe CWS is also unique in that it has a dry mill and a cupping lab facility directly attached to the CWS, which enables it to give very responsive feedback to the surrounding smallholders who bring their coffee for processing. Quality is checked easily and regularly, and farmers are brought directly into that loop. The majority of the small farmers in the area have an average of only 300 coffee trees (less than a quarter of a hectare) and use some of their land to cultivate other crops such as maize and beans to feed themselves and their families.

The level of care that all Buf washing stations take over their processing is impressive. Cherries are hand-picked only when fully ripe and then pulped that same evening using a mechanical pulper that divides the beans into three grades by weight. After pulping, the coffee is fermented overnight (for around 12-18 hours) and then graded again using flotation channels that sort the coffee by weight. The wet parchment is then soaked in water for around 24 hours to stabilise moisture content. 

As at most washing stations in Rwanda, women do the majority of the hand sorting. This takes place in two stages – on the covered pre-drying tables and on the drying tables. Washed beans are moved from the wet fermentation tanks onto the pre-drying tables, where they are intensively sorted under shade for around six hours. Next, the beans are moved onto the washing station’s extensive drying tables for around 14 days (depending on the weather), where they are sorted again for defects, turned regularly and protected from rain and the midday sun by covers, ensuring both even drying and the removal of any damaged or ‘funny looking’ beans. After reaching 11% humidity, the coffee is then stored in parchment in Remera’s purpose-built warehouse prior to final dry-milling and hand-sorting at the dry mill in Kigali or (as in this case) the Ubumwe dry mill.

Roast level: medium roast.

Buf Ubumwe #11 is very delicious from medium to coarse grind brewing methods.