Rwanda’s geographical location, without direct access to open seas, has posed significant logistical challenges to its coffee industry over the years. Exporters had to go through neighboring Uganda and Kenya in order to reach pathways to European markets, exposing the products to potentially harmful travel conditions, or the risks of being held up at a border due to political instability. This led most of Rwanda’s coffee producers to focus on high-volume, low-quality coffees, that were less sensitive to quality affecting conditions. Other producers, in the country’s less central districts, had no access to processing stations and therefore dried their cherries at home, selling the produce at very low prices in the domestic or low-grade commodities market.
But things have been changing over the last few years. As Rwanda's economy improved at a steady and impressive rate in the decades following the atrocities of 1994, more investment opportunities and more capital have found their way into the country’s coffee industry. Small processing stations, focused on high-quality production, began to pop up all over Rwanda’s western regions, where the majority of coffee cultivation takes place.
Established in 2009, Vunga is one such station. Consisting of 260 farmers, Vunga is a cooperative run and led by women, whose persistence and determination allowed them to build a production line excelling in quality, despite the significant logistical difficulties facing a small farmer-run station. In 2017, the station established a business partnership with the Muraho Trading Company, a young Rwandan enterprise that currently works closely with six stations around the country.
With the help of their new partners, the team at Vunga have made significant improvements to their infrastructure, and were able to implement improved payments for the cooperative's farmers, including health care benefits and second payment bonuses for premium grade produce.
We've purchased this particular lot, along with the lot produced at the Bumbogo station, from our friends at Hobe Coffee Co., and we could not have been happier with how these two coffees are tasting. We like the Vunga so much that we've decided to highlight it as one of our monthly subscription coffees, so all of our filter coffee subscribers can get a chance to try it.
You can expect your cup to have a delicate, silky mouthfeel, with hints of dark chocolate and peach flavors, and pronounced acidity.