Jean Bosco Habimana Organic

  • Country
  • Province
    Northern Province
  • District
    Gakenke District
  • Sector
    Coko Sector
  • Washing Station
  • Elevation
    2,147m above sea level
  • Variety
    Red Bourbon
  • Processing
  • Farm Size
    462 trees (0.19 hectares)
  • Farm Owners
    Jean Bosco Habimana
  • Washing Station Owner
    Dukunde Kawa Cooperative
  • Relationship Length
    Since 2023

Vanilla, peach and sweet almond. Soft and delicate, with white blossom florals and a creamy body.

It is very special to be able to get a coffee that is traceable back to a single farm in Rwanda, so we feel extremely fortunate to be able to share this lot from producers Jean Bosco Habimana and Emerthe Nyiramajyambere’s farm, Akanduga-Mbilima.

Most of the coffees we source from Rwanda are traceable back to a washing station, or sometimes a farmer group. Most washing stations in Rwanda receive cherry from hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of farmers who own very small plots of land – on average less than a quarter hectare, with just 300-600 coffee trees. Separation of such tiny lots is expensive and impractical, so the large majority of coffees are processed as a mixed lot from multiple producers. Typically, lots are separated as day lots (ie. cherries that were all picked on the same day) rather than by a single farm or producer group.

Single farm microlots like this one are difficult to access, especially from such a small producer (Jean Bosco owns 460 trees). In this case, it is made possible because Jean Bosco is a member of Dukunde Kawa Cooperative, who also employ him as Manager of their Mbilima washing station. Because Dukunde Kawa operate their own dry mill, they can process smaller lots individually, whilst minimising cost and maintaining excellent quality standards.

At 49 years old, Jean Bosco has worked in coffee most of his life. His career began as a teenager in the 1980s, when would help at his family’s farm. After the Rwandan genocide and subsequent renewal of the country’s coffee industry, the recently married Jean Bosco started a career at Mbilima washing station in 2004.  At around this time, he also inherited a plot with 52 coffee trees from his parents, which he named Akanduga-Mbilima farm. His diligent work ethic was quickly recognised by Dukunde Kawa, and he went on to become a machine operator in 2005 and eventually the manager in 2014. Through his income earned as a Dukunde Kawa employee, and from selling his coffee cherry, Jean Bosco has been able to build a house and expand the size of his property, reaching the 462 trees he currently owns.

Jean Bosco has been farming 100% organically since 2015. He uses manure from their cow to fertilise and has planted beans, potatoes and corn to prevent erosion and keep the soil moist. His wife Emerthe works closely with him on the farm, where she also tends to her own plot of coffee that she sells through the Rambagirakawa women’s group. The couple live on the property with their four children, who they’ve been able to educate using the income they’ve earned from coffee and from his work at Dukunde Kawa.

Before the establishment of cooperatives and centralised washing stations, coffee production was extremely arduous for Rwandan coffee farmers. Processing was labour-intensive and lengthy, with very little equipment, training or resources available to rural farming communities. Typically, coffee cherries were depulped by hand using stones and parchment was dried at farm level, before being sold to a middleman or ‘broker’ who would then on sell the coffee to traders or exporters based in Kigali. Not only did this result in a long and challenging harvest season for individual farmers, it also denied them any leverage for negotiating prices to achieve a fair and reliable income.

With the forming of cooperatives like Dukunde Kawa, farmers were provided with the support, education and resources necessary to adopt better farming practices, and processing moved to centralised washing stations – where shared infrastructure, equipment and adequate labour both minimised the workload for individuals and dramatically improved the coffee’s quality.

When we asked Jean Bosco what being a part of the cooperative meant to him, he told us that, “Dukunde Kawa is a blessing and a life-changer for me and my family. I joined the cooperative as a young married man, and now I’m a man with stable income and numerous achievements!

Head here to learn more about the work of Dukunde Kawa in Rwanda.


At a staggering elevation of 2,020 metres above sea level, Mbilima is one of Rwanda’s highest washing stations. The area surrounding the washing station has mineral-rich soil and a lush environment that is well suited to specialty coffee production. Typically, farms in this area are very small – averaging just a quarter of a hectare – and are situated between 1,800 to 2,100 meters above sea level.

The washing station was established in 2005 and services 874 growers (643 men, 231 women) who live and grow coffee locally. Four permanent staff and 49 seasonal workers are employed by the washing station – most of whom are women.

Day-to-day operations at Mbilima are overseen by John Bosco himself, while QC is headed by Agnes Mushimiyimana. The washing station is 100% organic, Rainforest Alliance certified, UTZ certified, and Fair Trade certified. John Bosco explained that becoming certified was extremely useful in formalising and documenting a lot of things that the cooperative were already doing. “It helped us to better the lives of our producers and quality of our coffee. It’ was a lot of work to get the certifications,” he explained, “but it also made us realise how many positive things we were already doing. The certifications reinforce this.” 



The team at Dukunde Kawa takes a huge amount of care in processing its coffee. All members of the cooperative are trained to only select ripe coffee cherries from their trees.

  • On delivery the cherries are inspected and sorted by hand to ensure only the very ripest cherries are processed. They are then sorted by weight (and any floaters are removed) by a Pinhalense machine that the washing station staff affectionately have nicknamed the ‘Umupolisi’ (police officer). They are then pulped on the same day – usually in the evening – using a mechanical pulper that divides the beans into three grades by weight, with the heaviest, A1, usually having the highest cup quality.
  • After pulping, the coffee is fermented overnight for around 12–18 hours and then graded again using floatation channels that sort the coffee by weight. The beans are then soaked for a further 24 hours, before being moved to raised screens for ‘wet sorting’ by hand.
  • As at most washing stations in Rwanda, women do the majority of hand-sorting. This takes place in two stages – on the covered pre-drying tables and on the drying tables. Washed beans are moved from the wet fermentation tanks onto the pre-drying tables, where they are intensively sorted under shade for around six hours. The idea is that greens (unripe beans) are still visible when the beans are damp, while the roofs over the tables protect the beans from the direct sunlight.
  • Next, the beans are moved onto the washing station’s extensive raised drying tables (‘African beds’) for around two weeks, where they are sorted again for defects, turned regularly and protected from rain and the midday sun by covers, ensuring both even drying and the removal of any damaged or defective beans. During this period the coffee is also turned several times a day by hand to ensure the coffee dries evenly and consistently.
  • After reaching 11% humidity, the coffee is then transported to Dukunde Kawa’s purpose-built warehouse prior to final dry-milling and hand sorting at the cooperative’s dry mill.


We have known Jean Bosco for many years, and this is the first time we are finally able to buy his coffee as a separate lot! We hope to be able to continue to buy his coffee in the years to come, because we love its juicy, pineapple acidity, its honey sweetness and notes of purple grape.