Cocahu, stands for Cooperative Agriculture de Humure, formed in 2005 and female-led from the start. We’ve been working with them since 2012 and we call them Humure, after the area where the washing station is located in Eastern Province, Rwanda. Up in the lush hills of Rwanda at 1500 m.a.s.l, all their members grow red bourbon varietal coffee. Compared to the eastern regions, this area is drier which influences the flavour profile of the coffee.
The co-operative has just over 200 members, of which a quarter are female. Farmers bring their fresh coffee cherries to their coffee washing station where a skilled team of workers pulps, ferments and washes the coffee. Parchment coffee is dried for several days on raised African beds in the sun before being transported to Kigali, where it is prepared for export. Humure is one of the 5 member co-operatives under the umbrella of Rwashoscco (Rwanda Smallholder Specialty Coffee Company), which is a farmer-owned organisation that provides support services to its smallholder farmers.
Union was the first company that imported speciality coffee from Rwanda into the UK. Both Steven and Jeremy spent several years travelling regularly to Rwanda to train local people in quality control (cupping). Eugenie Mukandanga is one of the original team who trained with Jeremy and she continues to manage all quality control from the 5 member co-operatives of Rwashoscco.