Introducing the Gitesi Project

Posted by admin in Coffee Trails

While coffee and cows isn’t exactly the most obvious pairing, we’re teaming up with the Gitesi Project to do exactly that.

The Gitesi Project raises much needed funds to purchase cows for small coffee farmers in the Gitesi community in Rwanda, to provide their families with milk for nourishment and sale, as well as organic fertiliser for their crops.

We only have 60kg of beautiful coffee from the Gitesi region on offer, and with 100% of proceeds from every bag sold going directly to the Project, this a not just a ‘charity coffee.’

With notes of peach and sultana you won’t want to miss out. And while we’re currently out of stock for espresso roast, stay tuned!

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Located in Western Rwanda, Gitesi is a privately-owned washing station established and operated by a father and son team, Alexis and Aime Gahizi.

The Gahizi family have been growing coffee in this region for generations and now help support over 1,800 coffee farmers who deliver and sell coffee cherries to Gitesi.

The washing station also runs a bonus payment system which sees a secondary payment going to farmers when the finished coffee sells at a good price. This operates similar to a profit share program that incentivises farmers to grow and pick only the best quality coffee.

In addition to the washing station, Gitesi also extends to its own plots of land to grow coffee. Alexis and Aime have plans to expand this side of their business to have direct control and management over the quality of their production, and also to ensure a steady supply.

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At Gitesi, management and staff are very competent and well-trained in managing the delivery of cherries from the farmers and have strict routines for cherry reception and sorting.

First, the cherries must be sorted by the farmers before being delivered to the washing station, removing under-ripe and over-ripe cherries, foreign material and damaged cherries. Then the Gitesi team will further sort the cherries before they are placed in a tank filled with water, where floaters are skimmed off and removed.

All of the cherries that are deemed either under or over-ripe are processed separately and sold as a lower grade coffee.

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The climate through most of the season in Rwanda is relatively cool, which assists in controlling the fermentation process. A Penagos 800 Eco Pulper is used here to remove the skin, pulp and 70% of the mucilage, after which the coffee is dry fermented for 10-12 hours.

Next the parchment is pushed through grading channels full of water, where it is both washed of any remaining mucilage, and separated by density into two grades. From here, they are soaked under clean water in tanks for 16 hours.

The parchment is initially taken to pre-drying tables, which are under shade. While the parchment is still wet, a lot of hand sorting is done as it’s easier to see defects during this stage. The parchment is dried on African drying beds for up to 15 days, and is covered by shade net during the intense midday sun.