Creamy tropical fruits. Mango and papaya with a cocoa finish
Hutwe village is located in the Kirumba region of Nord-Kivu (North of Lake Kivu), on the edge of Virunga National Park which borders Uganda to the east. The Hutwe Coffee Washing Station (CWS) is one of 5 washing stations belonging to Virunga Coffee Company which was setup by our green coffee import partner Schluter in 2012. Their aim is to produce high quality coffees for the speciality market and increase premiums for the thousands of smallholder farmers in the region.
The region has excellent conditions for speciality arabica production with plentiful rainfall, high altitude and highly fertile volcanic soils. The region is also very poverty-stricken and has had a severe lack of infrastructure which has made high quality arabica both difficult to produce and very challenging to export. Virunga Coffee Company has sought to overcome many of these problems through hands on farmer education and investment in local infrastructure such as roads and bridges. This has allowed quality improvements every season and, in turn, higher premiums for farmers.
Typically in Africa, one station will buy coffee cherries from many small-holder farmers. The farmers grow other cash crops as well to subsidise their incomes throughout the year. Farmers deliver their cherry to a central washing station and get paid based on weight. Hundreds of individual farmers often contribute to a single station’s yearly production. Approximately 625 farmers sell cherry to the Hutwe CWS.
Naturally procssed coffees skip the pulping, fermenting and washing stages of their washed counterparts and go straight on to the raised drying tables. The sun dries the cherry around the bean like a raisin and the cherry ferments around the beans inside. This procedure takes on average 12-15 days. After being fully dried they get milled. Once the intensive hand picking, floating, depulping, washing, grading and plenty more handpicking stages are complete the end result is known as ‘parchment’. Coffee parchment is then bagged and taken to Butembo dry mill where the outer layer is dehusked in order to get the green coffee beans inside them. These green beans are then graded and hand picked very carefully in order to eliminate defective beans. Typically naturals have lots of funky fruity flavours, high sweetness and a big creamy body.
Coffee is turned every hour during the day. All the while, casual workers consistently hand sort cherry as it dries removing damaged cherry or discoloured pods. Once dry, the pods have a raisin like textured skin, are dark brown, almost black, and have a shiny gloss coating.
This coffee has been certified under the USDA Organic system. Requirements for this seal include no use of prohibited substances on the land for at least three years. This includes most synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. Other certification requirements include a buffer between the coffee and any other crop not grown organically, a plan that demonstrates methods that prevent soil erosion, and other sustainable agricultural criteria.