Rwanda is blessed with ideal coffee growing conditions that include high altitude, regular rainfall, volcanic soils with good organic structure and an abundance of Bourbon.
The vast majority of Rwandan coffee is produced by smallholders of which there are thought to be around half a million with parcels of land often not much larger than just one hectare per family.
Coffee is grown in most parts of the country, with particularly large concentrations along Lake Kivu and in the southern province.
Rwandan smallholders organise themselves into cooperatives and share the services of centralised wet-mills – or washing stations as they are known locally. Flowering takes place between September and October and the harvest runs from March to July, with shipments starting in August through December.
Horizon Supreme is a washing station located in the hills of southern Rwanda, where a combination of high altitude and good rains give some of the highest quality from the country.
Leo Fidele Ndagijimana, the owner, purchased the wet mill from a previous owner who had failed to operate it and was not able to process coffee for many years. After buying the washing station end of 2018, Fidele replaced and fixed the mill’s machinery. He used his experience from managing washing stations in the western Rwanda to create a new benchmark for quality. Fidele named the wet mill Horizon to guide his vision of processing quality coffee. The station receives cherry from very small farmers in the area and separates the lots by the week they are delivered.
For the following harvest, the Horizon team is focused on scaling up the systems they’ve put in place.