Rugali Washing Station is located at the shores of Lake Kivu in the western part of Rwanda and Is surrounded by hills. This washing station was built in April 2016 by Muraho Trading Company. Rugali receives cherries from 1150 farmer families and employs five full time staff and expands to 180 seasonal workers during peak season. The station has supported the surrounding community by providing agricultural support to farmers in order to add value to their coffees and sustain their farming businesses. Rugali Washing station was the first to get official legal approval to produce Natural and Honey processed coffees in Rwanda. Coffees from this station have been used in multiple national and international barista competitions.
After cherries are brought to the Rugali station, they are pulped in a machine pulper. They’re then floated in fermentation tanks overnight, for approximately 12 hours, after which workers perform “ikinimba” — a practice of singing five songs while dancing and stomping on the coffee to clean off the last of the mucilage. Beans are then graded from A1 to A4 using channels based on density and size and are afterward hand sorted. Finally, the beans are dried for 20 to 25 days on raised beds.
The offering we have from Rugali is a washed process whose cup profile differs from some of the more classic notes we’ve been accustomed to tasting out of Rwanda. Many Rwandan coffees lean vegetal, often conveying notes of tomato and possessing an almost salty character. This coffee from Rugali is more viscous and floral. The acidity is present, but not overpowering. The final cup leaves you with notes of honey-soaked melon, chamomile, and nougat.