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Afrodis Munyangaju, Natural Red Bourbon, Rwanda


Origin: Southern Province, Nyaruguru District, Rwanda

Producers: Afrodis Munyangaju plus Augustin Mutabaruka, Agnes Mukamuyango,
Feledianne Makashyaka, Innocent Twaqirayezu, Xaver Ntahondi, Jean Havugimana

Process: Natural

Varieties: Red Bourbon

Altitude: 1550-1850masl

Importer: Semilla Coffee & Baho Coffee

Roast: Light - Medium, due to processing some beans look darker, tastes fruity as heck though.

Notes: Black Forest Cake, Cherry Blossom, Cocoa.

Transparency - We paid Semilla $5.40 usd / lb + shipping from montreal to our roastery.

2023 Rwanda national farmgate price: 410 Rwanda Francs per kg cherry.
2023 Baho farmgate price Ikizere washed: 590 Rwanda Francs per kg cherry on delivery, 30kg second payment. 620 RWF/kg total
2023 FOT Kigali price to Baho for Ikizere washed lots: $3.86USD/lb.

Baho & Semilla

Back in 2019, Emmanuel presented Semilla with a bit of a rare thing, fully traceable lots in an East African producing country. These lots went all the way to specific hills near the washing stations where to coffees were grown.

This traceability and transparency is a core value of Baho Coffee in Rwanda. By connecting more closely with producers, we're able to ensure we continue to grow with them in the future. It is also hugely inspirational for the producers, not only getting paid premium bucks for their high quality coffee, but the recognition of seeing their name on these coffees.

"This project at Fugi first began with the Kiyonza Hill group - smallholders living on the nearby Kiyonza mountain - and Ikizere  -the widowed and single mothers group. The recognition these groups have received as smallholders has been so motivating for
the growers that now almost all of them hope to be included in a group. As such, we’ve now expanded to include multiple new hills and also a Senior Men’s group and the Urubyiruko (Youth in Kinyarwanda) group." - semilla

Afrodis Munyangahu - Mill Manager

While much work was being done by Semilla and Baho to make the coffee from the Mills be more transparent via the producers growing the coffee, Semilla found one link was often forgotten, the ever-so important managers at the mill, and so the Manager's Blend was born!

This blend is named after Afrodis, the manager of the Fugi mill. Afrodis is responsible for everything at the mill from cherry collection, paying and tracking producer info, processing, storage, and transportation. This is ALOT, especially when you have the factor of trying to always be of high sensory quality on top of it all.

So, it's only fitting that Afrodis has a coffee named after himself, and one that has his own coffee alongside his choice of top producers. A relatively small lot, of 7 total producers, this coffee is clearly passionately taken care of - processing details below.

Processing -

These Red Bourbon lots are picked at peak ripeness and delivered to the Fugi Mill the same day. The cherries are sorted by multiple rounds of floating, which allows the better denser coffees to sink to the bottom, skimming off the top later for lower scoring lots.

The following processing details are pulled directly from the tech sheet - 

"Coffee cherries are spread out onto raised beds to begin the drying process. The goal is for cherries to be a single layer on the beds, maximum 2 - 4 cm of depth. Each station has calculated exactly what volume will fit perfectly on their sized tables to achieve this.

For the first 5 days, the coffee is turned every hour. From day 5 to day 20, coffee is turned every 2 hours. From day 20 - 50, the coffee and ambient temperature are strictly monitored to keep the rate of drying slow and controlled. Temperature is recorded throughout the day - if it exceeds certain thresholds, workers will focus on turning coffee more frequently and/or cover the beds with mesh netting.

This focus on extremely thin layers, coupled with frequent turning and temperature monitoring, is to ensure that the flavours remain clean and free from over- fermentation or mold defects. When the moisture content reaches 11.0%, the drying phase is considered complete. The dried cherry is bagged and stored in a dry warehouse until time for milling. Total drying times for natural process coffee is around 50 - 55 days. "

The producers received 590 Rwandan francs, + an additional post harvest payment of 30RWF post harvest per kg of cherry sold to the mill. This is roughly 66% above the national farmgate price of 410RWF. 

Fugi Mill:

This coffee is processed at the Fugi Mill, owned by Emmanuel of Baho Coffee. The mill is right between the border of the Nyungwe National forest, and the border of Burundi, in the Southern Province of Rwanda.

It was built in 2013, employs roughly 70 people at peak season, purchases cherry from approximately 950 smallholder farmers, and producers around 900 exportable specialty coffee each year.

"On average, producers bringing coffee to Fugi manage around 600 trees, with a median cherry yield per tree of 3kg - this equals about one and a half exportable bags of green coffee per producer. This figure perfectly exemplifies just how small the average producer is in Rwanda, and it gives some context as to why they are selling to washing stations rather than developing their own costly wet and dry mills." - semilla

To summarize

The relationships around coffees from Baho are what make me(sonny) excited about being in the coffee industry. Quality of cups aside, it's amazing to see people work together for a common goal of uplifting and growing together, and I feel very privileged to play a very small (and frankly, the easiest) role in this.

Rwanda as a country has been through so much, from brutal German/Belgian colonial rule, to shaky independence, economic crises, and then the genocide. That's why it's so inspiration to see the work of people like Emmanuel and Afrodis who care so deeply for their people and country.

Emmanuel writes -

 “Baho’s vision on community is guided by having a synergetic relationship with the community of farmers that we work with, where we guide them and create solutions in a replicable, sustainable and scalable manner leading to economic growth and poverty reduction. Our overall vision is implied by the meaning of our name, Baho, which in our local language means live/life. It is like a tree that grows up and has branches, flowers and fruits and still keeps its roots in the ground. Baho is born, grows up and sells coffee both locally and internationally and never forgets the origin.”

We hope to to be able to buy more coffee from Baho as we grow, and hopefully continue to watch Baho's branches of producers grow as well.

Thank you if you made it this far down! you can read more at Semilla's website if you're keen.

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