HUYE — A research conducted last year has revealed that carrying coffee cherries to washing stations as soon as they are picked improves the quality of Rwandan’s specialty coffee.
The research carried out under a project called the Research Program,e of the Sustaining Partnerships to Enhance Rural Enterprise and Agribusiness Development (SPREAD) also revealed that soaking pulped parchments of coffee from eighteen to twenty hours can enhance the quality.
The research’s preliminary results were presented on Thursday, at Sovu Coffee Washing Station in Huye District. At the washing station, experiments to test the effect of both fermentation methods and the transport time of coffee cherries on the quality were conducted. According to the researchers the findings are to be used as tips to produce more quality coffee for farmers.
“This research is very important for Rwanda because at the end of the day it will add on to the price of Rwandan coffee. We have a responsibility to give accurate information to farmers,” said Dr. Timothy Schilling, director of the USAID support SPREAD project.“
SPREAD partnered with the National University of Rwanda (NUR)’s Faculty of Agriculture, the national coffee board (OCIR-Café), Volcafe Specialty Coffee, and two American coffee roasting companies. These companies include Intelligentsia Coffee Roasters and Counter Culture Coffee Roasters.
After different experiments, the research recommended that Rwanda’s washing stations that normally ferment coffee parchments for between fifteen and sixteen hours start leaving them for up to twenty hours to maximize the quality.
The coffee that were processed within three or four hours after picking scored higher quality than those processed after seven hours.
“The cooler temperatures keep the cherries fresher and bacteria work more slowly on the sugars in the cherries,” the research report suggested.
Researchers who conducted the experiments invited coffee partners to enforce sensitization aimed at helping farmers to use quality practices in coffee processing.