High in the hills of the Nyabihu District, near the famous Virunga Volcanoes National Park, is the Muraho Trading Company’s Shyira coffee washing station.
Intentionally the smallest Muraho washing station, in regard to size and volume, Shyira was set up to be laser focused on producing top-quality micro-lots and flavor profiles that have never been found before in Rwanda.
After cherries are brought to the Shyira station, they are pulped by machine. They’re then floated in fermentation tanks overnight, for 12 hours. Workers then perform “ikinimba,” which consists of singing five songs while dancing and stomping on the coffee to clean off the last of the mucilage. This is intended to bring out more sweetness in the coffee.
Beans are then graded, from A1 to A4, using serpentine channels based on density and size. Finally, beans are dried for between 20 and 25 days on raised beds.
Kilimbi and the Muraho Trading Company work continuously to support and improve farmers’ coffee yields. Farmers receive second payments and bonus payments every year of production. In 2017, the team raised 65,000 seedlings coffee seedlings and distributed them to Shyira farmers. This year, they plan to raise and distribute 90,000 seedlings.
In 2018, Shyira paid for health insurance for all of its farmers for the entire year.