The Shyira washing station is located in the Nyabihu district of Rwanda's Western Province, and at 1,850 MASL it is reputedly the highest washing station in Rwanda.
Shyira is the third washing station established by the Muraho Trading Company (MTC) in January 20117, after similar projects at Kilimbi and Rugali in the Nyamasheke district. MTC was setup by brothers Carthick and Gaudam Anbalagam with the goal of showcasing the phenomenal quality of coffees that Rwanda has to offer.
The station receives cherry from farms all the way up to 2,300 MASL, and the result is some of the most complex and nuanced Rwandan coffees we have ever tasted. This washed red bourbon is delicate, floral and complex, with notes of sweet citrus, jasmine, and green tea.
The cherry is hand-sorted and floated to remove under-ripe and damaged cherries, before being pulped. It is then fermented for 12 hours in concrete tanks, during which time it is agitated by way of ceremonial foot-stomping (with accompanying song!) to clean any residual mucilage from the parchment. The coffee is then released into a large serpentine grading channel where it is washed and separated by density. It is then hand-sorted again to remove any insect damaged, discoloured and chipped coffee, before being laid out to dry on raised beds for 30 days, during which time it is turned regularly to ensure consistent drying.
In May 2020 the Nyabihu communities in northern Rwanda, including Shyira, were devastated by flooding and mudslides. The resulting damage included the destruction of 325 homes (including 38 homes from families that deliver coffee to the Vunga or Shyira washing stations), and the loss of livestock, crops, classrooms, churches, healthcare centres, electric and water supplies.
Phase 1 of the recovery effort involved clearing debris, providing food and care packages, and emergency housing to the families left homeless. The next stage involves rebuilding and replanting all that has been lost, including the building of new homes, structural upgrades, and providing a store of emergency provisions to minimise the impact should such events happen again.
With your support we are proud so far to have donated over £2,500 to the appeal, but there is plenty more work still to be done.
If you would like to learn more about the recovery effort, and perhaps contribute directly yourself, please visit the GoFundMe page here.