About the coffee from Remera
Flavour description: A sweet aroma of chocolate. This is a juicy cup with bitterness of dried cranberry. Notes of orange zest, dark chocolate, raisin and lemon. The coffee has a clean aftertaste of sherry.
Owner: BUF company owned by Epiphanie Mukashyaka and her son Samuel Muhirwa
Colour: Dark Blue
Washing station: Remera
Varietal: Red Bourbon
Region: Kamonyi District, Southern Province
Harvested: January 2022
Altitude: 1550 to 1700 metres above sea level
Price transparency: 3,80 $ per pound FOB
Roast style: Light to medium to enhance the natural sweetness in the coffee.
This winter I have really craved having a coffee that swipes your hat off. The kind of coffee that truly excites you and directly connects your taste palette and passion. Therefore we bought this coffee.
I love all coffee we have, otherwise, we wouldn’t buy them and we have a full portfolio of floral, juicy, funky, crisp, chocolatey and the full palette of coffee from the best producers there have been out there for over a year. What is so special with this coffee is the acidity in the aftertaste. It just keeps going and going and going. It has low sweetness and THAT really excites me. Think tart, in Sweden we have Lingonberries, which remind of cranberry.
The last time we bought a coffee from Epiphanie Mukashyaka was in 2015. That time the coffee came from Epiphanie's washing station called Nyaruzisa and we really missed having this coffee. So from this year, we are buying coffee from two other of her four washing stations; this one is from Remera.
About Epiphanie Mukashyaka and Remera
The company 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 now 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.
Epiphanie, who was born in 1959, was widowed during the 1994 genocide - which claimed over 800,000 lives in just 3 months - but chose not to leave her family’s small coffee farm. Instead, she set about rebuilding and developing her business and with it the local community. She started Buf Café in 2003 when she established her first washing station with a loan from the Rwandan Development Bank and the assistance of the USAID-financed PEARL project.
This transformational programme was aimed at switching the focus in the Rwandan coffee sector from a historic emphasis on quantity to one on quality - and so opening up Rwanda to the far higher-earning speciality coffee market. The programme and its successor, SPREAD, have been invaluable in helping Rwanda’s small-scale coffee farmers to rebuild their production in the wake of the devastating 1994 genocide and the 1990s world coffee crash.
Buf owns four coffee washing stations – Remera, Nyarusiza, Umurage and Ubumwe. The company is now procuring coffee cherries from almost 7,500 smallholder farmers in the Southern province of Rwanda, among them, 1,069 are registered members.
Located in the Kamonyi District which is only 20 minutes far away from the capital city Kigali. This CWS had fallen into disrepair until Buf rescued it to serve the surrounding population of smallholder farmers.
Buf has very strong links with the local communities that supply it, providing jobs for hundreds. At the end of each season, Buf will share any surplus profits with both the cooperatives with which it works and its washing station managers.
Before investing in the Ubumwe, Buf did a great amount of research regarding the potential for quality in the region. They found that the Ubumwe area has rich soil nutrients which contribute directly to cherry ripeness and root development. This nutritional difference has a huge impact on coffee growing and, therefore, Ubumwe produces an outstanding quality coffee.
The majority of the small farmers in the area have an average of only 300 coffee trees and use some of their lands to cultivate other crops such as maize and beans to feed themselves and their families. Most of their income from the sale of coffee is used to take their children to school, pay for medical care and for investment in livestock such as a cow for milk, both for use in the home and for sale locally.