Mushonyi - Orbita

Milk Chocolate

Washing StationMushonyi


RegionWest Province


Altitude1.600 – 1.900 masl

Variety Bourbon




Cupping notes

Almond and milk chocolate fragrance. Panela and vanilla aroma. Milk chocolate and molasses flavor. Creamy body and long aftertaste.


Introduced in 1904 by German missionaries, coffee in Rwanda has an important history. There, the climate, altitude and the pre-eminence of the Bourbon variety give it unequalled qualities in cup.


At the beginning of the 90s coffee was its most lucrative product of export: about 45 thousand tons left the country and gave sustenance to many small farmers. In 1994, tremendous genocide killed the lives of nearly a million people and destroyed Rwanda’s economy by eliminating much of the specialized knowledge needed to grow and export successfully.

Today, the country produces less than half the coffee it exported in 1990. However, despite the tragic events that have shaken its recent history, Rwanda retains its enormous potential in the coffee sector.


In order to rebuild agricultural institutions, production capacity and human capital, the PEARL (The Partnership for Enhancing Agriculture in Rwanda through Linkages) was designed in 2000. Thus, small coffee growers can sell directly to expert buyers receiving high prices for their exceptional product.


Today approximately 420,000 people are directly or indirectly related to the coffee industry. The prices of quality coffee are more stable than the prices of commercial coffee, which has improved the quality of life of many coffee growers and their families. In addition, coffee also contributes to the reconciliation of the main ethnic groups: Hutus and Tutsis; since we have seen them working together, shoulder to shoulder, to produce more and better coffee.

Washing Station

The Mushonyi Washing Station is situated just one kilometer from the shores of Lake Kivu. The 1,200 growers who deliver cherries this season live and farm in the hills surrounding Mushonyi. In these hills, the altitude can vary from a minimum of 1,600 meters above sea level to a maximum of 1,950. Farmers, on average, grow only about 300 coffee trees on their small plots. Many also intercrop banana, eucalyptus and cassava to generate additional income.
Mushonyi was originally built by the army. At that time, the army was thinking about large volumes of cherry and built to order. Thus, the station has eight fermentation tanks, a standard washing channel and a cherry sorting shed for additional sorting before the cherry is pulped. Rwacof maintains this infrastructure in perfect condition, even in years when the capacity of the washing station exceeds the volume of cherries delivered.

Processing Method

After buying the cherries from the growers, the Mushonyi washing station goes through a strict grading process. First, lower quality cherries are removed by flotation, and then specially trained personnel visually inspect the remaining cherries for visual defects.
Once selected, it is passed through a pulper. Mushonyi is equipped with an ecological Pinhalense pulper that can process up to 2 tons per hour. The machine integrates the process of flotation and mechanical removal of mucilage in its flow. From the hopper the cherries flow into a container. Here, the machine removes the floats and takes them to a different channel for pulping. Good quality cherries sink and flow into another channel for “approved” processing.
The coffee then goes through a 10-hour fermentation in concrete tanks. This fermentation period removes the remaining mucilage. After being removed from the fermentation tanks, the parchment is passed through a washing and sorting channel. As the grains flow through, wooden bars placed along the channel prevent grains of specific densities from passing through. These bars are spaced along the channel. While the first lock stops the denser grains, the next one is arranged to stop the second denser grains, and so on. In total, the process separates the parchment into five different grades.
Separated parchment is placed on raised beds to dry. Workers sort the drying parchment to remove any remaining flaws that may have occurred in previous steps. The parchment is raked frequently to ensure even drying.

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