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Rwanda for Good Day

It’s a special time of year when we get to share Rwandan coffees with you.  A perfect balance of volcanic soil, high altitude, and equatorial mist, make coffee from Rwanda distinctively complex and syrupy-sweet. 

We’re roasting two lots from the Buf Coffee washing station, Nyarusiza, for our Good Day Blend. It’s bright and sunny as a black coffee, delectably sweet and dessert-like with milk.

So, who are Buf coffee? 

Buf Coffee was founded in 2000 by Epiphanie Mukashyaka, an inspirational and trailblazing businesswoman who overcame the incredible tragedy of the Rwandan genocide.  Through the cultivation of specialty coffee, Epiphanie has created economic opportunity for herself and for her community. 

In 1994, after decades of unrest, a genocide and coinciding civil war saw an estimated 800,000 lives lost in 100 days.   Epiphanie’s husband and one of their eight children were among those murdered.  In a population of almost 7 million, the atrocity was felt by everybody.  During a time of tremendous grief, Epiphanie turned to the coffee trees left behind by her husband, as a way to support herself and her seven surviving children.  

In what was primarily a commodity-grade industry in Rwanda, the Partnership to Enhance Agriculture in Rwanda through Linkages (PEARL) initiative was founded by Tim Shilling.  The program provided support and education to coffee farmers, building the foundations for specialty coffee in Rwanda.  Through the introduction of better cherry selection, processing and sorting, Epiphanie began to achieve a higher premium for her coffee.

In 2003, Epiphanie was approved for a loan to build her first coffee washing station, Nyarusiza – the washing station where both Nyarusiza Mudaheranwa and Nyamagabe, the components of Good Day, were processed.  Fast-forward to today, Ephiphanie, her son Sam, and the team at Buf Coffee, now operate two washing stations.  Each year they purchase coffee cherries from as many as 7000 smallholder farms, providing hundreds of jobs during peak harvest (May-July) and almost 50 permanent positions, making her the largest employer in her region.  

Epiphanie and Sam’s commitment to their community is not limited to economic opportunities.  In 2018 they partnered with the Rwandan Government’s One Cow per Poor Family program to distribute 500 cows across the region’s farmers over a five-year period.  The gifted cows have a profound impact on the recipients, not only as a source of nutrition and supplementary income to coffee but also as a traditional symbol of wealth and status in Rwanda. The gifted cows help restore pride to families and communities who experienced great loss during the genocide. 

Buf Coffee’s tireless efforts in Nyamagabe District have helped to rebuild the region – providing jobs, coffee education, and income to an area that is now renowned for its specialty coffee. 

This is our fourth year purchasing from Buf Coffee.  The quality and complexity of coffee produced is exceptional, but Epiphanie’s story and the positive impact specialty coffee has had on the region is what makes this really special.  We are so proud to be able to share it with you.