Ngoma Washing Station
Ngoma is a newer station purchased by Emmanuel Rusatira in 2019. It’s located in the Nyamasheke district of Rwanda, directly off the shores of Lake Kivu. 780 farmers deliver to this station, which translates to around 575 bags (1.5 containers) of exportable green coffee each season.
In Sundog Trading’s words:
As is standard practice for Baho-owned stations – training, inputs , and substantial contributions towards health insurance premiums are provided for all farmers delivering. Furthermore, each station has an agronomist on site that organizes training sessions focused on topics such as coffee plant care (planting, fertilizing, pruning, harvesting, etc), environmental protection, and importance of our traceability efforts. Various inputs like fertilizers and new coffee seedlings are provided free of cost to all farmers. Baho is involved a step further here as well – helping farmers with transportation to gather materials and lending tools/equipment when necessary.
About Ikizere Women:
Now in it’s third consecutive year Ikizere is a project that has grown from 20 producers at Fugi station (another on of Baho’s processing stations) to encompass multiple groups of 100+ women over several processing stations. At Ngoma, there are 36 members within Ikizere, and 9 of them contributed to this specific lot. Their names are:
The group is composed of widowed women and single mothers who share the unique challenges of navigating traditionally patriarchal systems – both the Rwandese society as a whole and more specifically coffee production. It is not common to see this level of traceability with smaller lot separations from smallholder producers within Rwanda. It is exciting see, and as buyers want to acknowledge the work and detail put in by Emmanuel through detailed recordkeeping at the station level.
In Sundog’s words:
Our interest in smaller lot separations began in 2019 when Emmanuel presented to us a handful of coffees that were traced back to communities surrounding specific hills. This initiative immediately sparked our interest and kickstarted our discussions on how we could expand and deepen this type of traceability. As buyers, it’s always exciting to find more information about where coffee is coming from; but furthermore, Emmanuel made it very clear that it was helpful to Baho and their producer network as well. It created the opportunity to more directly support coffee growers and hopefully motivate them to continue in specialty.
The initial steps for each process are the same: First, a day of intensive sorting at the cherry stage, under complete shade, to ensure only the ripest are chosen and any visible defects are removed. Step two is multiple rounds of floating – filling a large container with cherries and water, discarding the less dense cherries that float to the top of the tank. The densest coffees (sinkers) are reserved to be processed as the higher grade lots, and the less dense coffees (floaters) are mixed in with the rejected cherries from the initial sorting to be processed as lower grade lots.
The highest quality cherries are collected into a sealed fermentation tank, where they’re left under complete shade for 12 hours. The idea behind this step is to rapidly start the fermentation process and increase complexity via a short period in a low oxygen environment. The cherries are spread out onto raised beds to begin the drying process. The goal is for cherries to be a single, shallow layer on the beds.
Cherries are turned frequently, and weather conditions are closely monitored throughout the day. If certain temperature thresholds are exceeded, workers will focus on turning coffee more frequently or cover the beds with mesh netting to cool down the environment. This focus on thin layers, coupled with frequent turning and temperature monitoring, is to ensure that the flavors remain clean and free from over-fermentation or mold defects. When the moisture content reaches the target of 10.5 – 11.0%, the drying phase is considered complete. Total drying time for this lot was 45 days.
Rwanda national farmgate price for cherry* – 410 rwf/kg
Baho farmgate price paid for cherry* – 650 rwf/kg + 50 rwf/kg second payment
FOT price paid to Baho Coffee – 4.08 usd/lb
FOB price paid to Sundog Trading – 5.91 usd/lb
In addition, we are contributing an additional payment to Baho Coffee of $0.50 usd/lb with the assistance of Sundog Trading. We purchased a total of 198 lbs of Ngoma Ikizere this season.
*Whole coffee cherries are typically 6x the weight of green coffee parchment.