Victoria Mukamurenzi

  • Country
  • Province
    Northern Province
  • District
    Gakenke District
  • Sector
    Ruli Sector
  • Washing Station
  • Elevation
    2,000m above sea level
  • Variety
    Red Bourbon
  • Processing
  • Farm Size
    216 trees (0.86 hectares)
  • Farm Owner
    Victoria Mukamuienzi
  • Washing Station Owner
    Dukunde Kawa Cooperative
  • Relationship Length
    Since 2023

Intensely sweet, with a juicy body and clean finish. Strawberry, apple and cherry with tea-rose florals.

It is very rare to be able to get a coffee that is traceable back to a single producer in Rwanda, so we feel extremely fortunate to be able to share this special lot from Victoria Mukamurenzi’s farm Kinyonzo-Jango.

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 producer microlots like this one are difficult to access, especially from such a small producer (Victoria owns 216 trees). One of the reasons this lot separation is possible is that Victoria is a member of the Dukunde Kawa Cooperative, who operate their own dry mill, where they can process smaller lots individually, whilst minimising cost and maintaining excellent quality standards.


As the daughter of farmers, Victoria began working in coffee from a very young age – learning the ropes from when she was just a toddler in the 1980s. She was always passionate about coffee, and as she grew up, she became more involved with the farm’s activities until she eventually found job at a coffee nursery, where she would look after seedlings and young coffee trees.

As a child, Victoria saw her parents undertake great effort to grow, process and sell their coffee crop. At this time, 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.

Once married, Victoria and her husband planted their own farm. In 2002, her husband got a job at a construction site near their home — which turned out to be Dukunde Kawa Cooperative’s Ruli washing station. Victoria’s husband started working for the co-op on a full-time basis after the building was complete, and the pair have been proud members of the cooperative ever since. Joining Dukunde Kawa was empowering for the couple, as they began to earn fair and reliable prices for the coffee they farmed together, as well as training in financial literacy, gender equality, coffee farming and market access.

When the Rambagirakawa women’s group was founded, Victoria was one of the first members to join. A savvy and entrepreneurial woman, Victoria had the idea of teaching fellow Rambagira members to weave baskets and handicrafts, with the goal of generating extra money during the off-harvest period. The idea was well-received by the group, and is now one of their main income-generating activities. Victoria’s leadership within the group was recognised when she was named Vice-President of Rambagirakawa. In this role, she assists in the managing of the group’s finances, liaises with Dukunde Kawa’s leadership on behalf of the group, and develops projects.

With the income generated from coffee, Victoria and her husband have built their home and raised three children. At their property, the pair have planted crops like beans, cassava, potatoes and corn, and raise rabbits. Today, Victoria has her own plot of coffee with 216 trees, separate from her husband, which she tends to with the support of her fellow Rambagirakawa members.


Ruli sits at 1,920 meters above sea level, overlooking a beautiful landscape of rolling green hills and rich, red earth. A total of 1756 farmers (1104 men, 652 women) deliver cherry to the washing station, which employs 36 permanent staff and increases by another 222 seasonal staff during the harvest period.

The area surrounding Ruli has mineral-rich soil and a lush environment that is well suited to specialty coffee production. Typically, farms are situated between 1,800 to 2,100 meters above sea level. Coffee is grown as a cash crop, alongside subsistence food crops like maize, beans and sorghum and some livestock like goats and chickens. Cows are also an important asset to a farming family. Besides having practical advantages – like providing milk and yoghurt to feed the family, producing excellent manure for the coffee farms, and being an opportunity for additional income – they are also a traditional symbol of wealth and status in Rwanda.

The washing station was established in 2003 and is the largest of Dukunde Kawa’s washing stations. It serves as the head office for the cooperative’s management team and the site also encompasses the cooperative’s dry mill and its dairy operations. The property is also the site of the Rambagirakawa community room and Dukunde Kawa’s cupping lab, nursery and model farm. Recently, the cooperative decided to expand their business by establishing a commercial roastery that supplies coffee to restaurants and hotels across town, with all activities carried at a building also located in Ruli.

Quality control operations at Ruli are overseen by Emerthe Mukamurigo, who has held this position since 2014, while the day to day is managed by Philomene Nyirabantu. Ruli is Rainforest Alliance certified, UTZ certified, and Fair Trade certified. These certifications help the growing cooperative find different markets for the coffee. “We were already doing a lot of the things that were required for these certifications”, Isaac (the executive secretary of the cooperative at the time) explained, “We are always trying to be the best cooperative we can be. Getting the certifications has helped highlight what we are doing well and helped us raise our standards in other areas.”

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


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 named the ‘Umupolisi’ (police person). 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 with 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.


This is the first time that we have purchased Victoria’s coffee, and we are excited to continue working with her in the future and as she grows her business further. This lot is intensely sweet and juicy, with beautiful lifted florals.