Humure comes to us through our new friends at Sun Dog Trading Company in Athens, GA. This is our first coffee from Sun Dog and they did not disappoint!
The Rwanda coffee sector is unique in that it’s extremely small, which means that it’s possible for buyers to have a serious impact on the entire market. With an average annual export of between 267,000 - 400,000 bags, Rwandese coffee is a drop in the bucket of world coffee production. For context - Costa Rica, considered the smallest producer in Central America, producers 1.6 million bags annually, and Colombia produces 15 - 18 million annually. Coffee represents 25% of Rwanda’s total export economy, meaning that the government's efforts to make coffee a valuable sector for profit and employment generation has reaped huge benefits. The potential for impacting the overall economic well-being of the country is possible via coffee, but it must be optimized for that purpose. First and foremost, the profits must go to locals rather than major multinationals; and secondly, quality and prices must increase.
Sun Dog has sourced this coffee from Emmanuel Rusatira and his exporting company known as Baho Coffe. Humure is one of four washing stations owned by Baho. Humure is located in the Eastern Province of Rwanda, and it was newly constructed in 2017. The station, named after the highest hill in the area, is totally managed by women. Humure is currently the largest Baho washing station owns, producing just over 4 containers (1300+ 60kg bags) annually and employing 220 people during the peak of the season.
Something that makes Baho unique and gives us excitement and pride in buying from them is that they are one of the few Rwandan-owned companies exporting coffee. With the majority of Rwandan coffee being sold by multinational companies, the profits are leaving Rwanda and failing to give the Rwandan economy the boost it needs from coffee production. In addition, the average age of the Baho employee is below 20-years old so this company and its buyers have the opportunity to shift the future of the coffee sector and economy in Rwanda.
The aim of Humure was initially to produce high volumes of lower grade specialty coffee (80 - 85 points). Because of the slightly drier and hotter climate in this region, coffees tend to dry a few days quicker here in comparison to Baho’s other stations. We were very pleasantly surprised when tasting through day lots this year and think there’s huge potential at Humure. The natural processed lots in particular were some of the absolute best on the table.
Baho focused heavily this year on growing their seedling distribution program - 50,000 were distributed to the Humure farmers. Emmanuel has found that with his higher cherry prices, farmers are becoming more interested in investing in their coffee farms and growing future production.