We are celebrating our second year working with David Rubanzangabo & his family who own & operate Huye Mountain Coffee Washing Station in Butare, Rwanda.
Our process is very straightforward; first we let David know how much coffee we would like to purchase of the upcoming crop. Then we negotiate a price – taking into consideration the cost of production, the current top quality cherry price, & competition. Finally, we then write a forward contract. This lets David buy cherry with confidence & allows him with his buyers to only select the very best quality for us. At the end of harvest we return to Rwanda to cup the day lots & select those that meet our quality & flavour requirements to ship to Australia. Coffee producers who deliver or sell their cherry to Huye Mountain register with the receiving agent & after the crop has been exported & the accounts balanced, David pays the producers a second payment sharing the profits.
We love to hear from people in their own words so we asked David to share a little with you about this year at Huye Mountain.
HOW WAS THE HARVEST THIS YEAR COMPARED TO LAST YEAR?
The harvest of this year was more organized than last year according to logistics, workers, & production management.
DID YOUR VOLUMES INCREASE OR DECREASE?
The volume of coffee increased because of 3 main points:
The farmers who delivered coffee to Huye Mountain have been well paid at good price for cherries.
The off season activity planning & agronomy training we have been doing with the community has resulted in stronger partnerships.
Farmers know if Huye Mountain makes a profit they will receive a second payment & we already shared the fruits from 2012 & 2013 coffee season, so there is motivation to deliver to us.
HOW WAS THE QUALITY OF THE CHERRY YOU RECEIVED?
The quality of cherries this year was very good, our site collectors have to buy only good cherries & they know that before processing any coffee at the washing station, we always check the quality of coffee & our staff certify the quality of every daily lot received.
HOW MANY FAMILIES HAVE CONTRIBUTED TO HUYE MTN. THIS YEAR?
We receive coffee from 772 farmers in 2013 the average is like 150 families.
WHAT DO HIGHER COFFEE PRICES MEAN FOR COFFEE PRODUCERS IN RWANDA?
Farmer will be able to access basic necessities such as health insurance, food security, school fees for kids, procurement of livestock, savings, buying agriculture/farm inputs, building houses, etc …
CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR WATER RECYCLING PROGRAM?
This program will help us to reduce the quantity of water we have to use.
HOW WILL IT WORK?
Normally the depulping process takes the half of total volume of water we use in coffee processing, so we plan to re-use the same water by pumping it back into floatation tank to be used for pulping only. For washing coffee beans we ONLY use clean water (NOT USED) to insure that coffee is well washed.
HOW MUCH WATER WILL IT SAVE?
At least 1/3 of the total volume of water will be reduced.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
Reducing the cost of water management i.e. the cost of managing much used water from CWS. & Environmental protection, reducing the amount of waste water will help improve the environment.
WHAT WERE YOUR CHALLENGES THIS YEAR?
Lack of enough drying tables to process the volume of all coffee cherries we were receiving caused us to slow down purchasing during the peak of harvesting.
We had to stop receiving cherries altogether before the end of coffee season there were a lot of complaints from farmers.
Lack of transportation of cherries to start the coffee washing process earlier in the year.
WHAT DO YOU HAVE PLANNED FOR NEXT YEAR?
The quality is our highest priority, the most thing to be kept.
We are adding more drying tables.
We will rent another truck to use during the busy times.
To increase environmental safety by recycling waste water.
WHAT DO YOU WANT COFFEE DRINKERS TO KNOW?
To know origin of our product.
Our effort to produce this coffee.
Their contribution to improve the livelihood of coffee farmers when they buy our coffee.
WHAT MAKES YOUR COFFEE SO SPECIAL?
We think much on quality improvement.
Our staff has enough experience in the coffee growing & processing.
We are working in good area for coffee growing.
Working as a team to strive for the best, & planning with workers & farmers to reach the same.
Thank you sooooo much David for your words & your incredible coffee. Celebrate Huye Mountain, Rwanda coffee with us at the Café /Sideshow this month, & online here.