The Musasa Dukunde Kawa cooperative has three washing stations in Rwanda’s northwest. Nkara – the cooperative’s third washing station - was built by the co-op in 2007 with profits earned from their first two washing stations, Ruli & Mblima and a bank loan. The washing station lies at 1,800 metres above sea level and serves farmers within the Ruli Sector of Rwanda’s Northern Province.
Farmers who work with Musasa Dukunde Kawa have seen their income at least double, and the co-op produces some outstanding lots for the specialty market year after year. ‘Musasa’ means ‘a place to make a bed’ and ‘Dukunde Kawa’ means ‘let’s love coffee’ in Kinyarwanda - a reference to the power of coffee to improve the lives of those in rural communities.
The level of care that Musasa Dukunde Kawa Nkara takes over the 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 hours) and then graded again using flotation channels that sort the coffee by weight (the heaviest – or A1 – usually being the best). The wet parchment is then soaked in water for between 18 and 24 hours to stabilise moisture content.