Ruli | Rwanda
Meet RULI, a washed processed red bourbon grown at 1960masl by farmers of the Dukunde Kawa Cooperative in Gakenke District, Rwanda.
Expect to taste: mixed berries, plum, hibuscus, pepperberry, rhubarb, oolong tea & snickers.
TL;DR: the efforts of 248 small farmers and a quality focused co-op have come together over many years to really showcase just how beautiful coffees from this region can be. This is something very special! Life will truly be looking up from the bottom of this cup.
This 100% Red Bourbon lot was produced by 248 smallholder farmers who deliver coffee cherry to Ruli washing station, one of three washing stations owned by the Dukunde Kawa Co-operative. Ruli is located close to the small town of Mususa, in the Ruli Sector or Gakenke District, in Rwanda’s rugged and mountainous Northern Province.
Ruli was established in 2003 and is the largest of Dukunde Kawa’s washing stations. It serves as the head office for the co-operative’s management team and the site also encompasses the co-operative’s dry mill and its dairy operations. The washing station sits at 1,920 meters above sea level, overlooking a beautiful landscape of rolling green hills and rich, red earth. A total of 1756 farmers (1104 men and 652 women) deliver cherry to Ruli, which employs 36 permanent staff and increases by another 222 seasonal staff during the harvest period. The area surrounding Ruli has mineral-rich soil and a lush environment that is well suited to specialty coffee production. Typically, farms are situated between 1,800 to 2,100 meters above sea level.
The producers who contribute to the Ruli washing station own an average of one tenth of a hectare of land, on which they farm coffee, along with subsistence food crops like maize, beans and sorghum, alongside some livestock like goats and chickens. Cows are also an important asset to a farming family. Besides having practical advantages – like providing milk and yoghurt to feed the family, producing excellent manure for the coffee farms, and being an opportunity for additional income – they are also a traditional symbol of wealth and status in Rwanda.
Quality control operations at Ruli are overseen by Emerthe Mukamurigo, who has held this position since 2014, while the day-to-day is managed by Philomene Nyirabantu. Ruli has recently become Rainforest Alliance certified, UTZ certified, and Fair Trade certified. These certifications help the growing cooperative find different markets for the coffee. “We were already doing a lot of the things that were required for these certifications”, Isaac (the executive secretary of the cooperative at the time) explained, “We are always trying to be the best cooperative we can be. Getting the certifications has helped highlight what we are doing well and helped us raise our standards in other areas”.
Our job with this coffee was clear: let it's beauty shine, and get the hell out of the way! We kept the roast clean and light, allowing the coffee to do all the talking, but making sure it's still easy enough to dial in on your coffee machine.
We start with the same recipe for all of our espresso coffees:
- 20g dose
- 45g yield
- 30 seconds
From here we will tweak things to get the flavours to highlight things we like. Use this as your starting point and go wild!
Note: some domestic espresso machines can’t use a 20g dose. Please always follow your manufacturers instructions to avoid damaging your equipment.