Rwanda: Farmers of Mbilima

Coffee farmer in Mbilima, Rwanda

Farmer harvesting coffee cherries.

Coffee Cherries ready to go a washing station.

Weighing coffee cherries.

Farmer loaded with coffee cherries bound for a washing station.

While in Rwanda, working for Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee in Atlanta, I had the privilege of spending time with a group of coffee farmers that were thrilled with their harvest and excited to be working with the Atlanta based company. Before this trip, I knew little about coffee and only occasionally drank it. I had never heard of a coffee cherry and knew nothing of the finer points of grading a specialty coffee. By the end of the trip I could recognize the differences in grades A1 through A4 and could understand what a coffee cupper meant when they said the coffee was sweet, earthy, or chocolate-like.

Mbilima, Rwanda is blessed with the right ingredients of elevation, weather and good soil for growing specialty coffee. Farmers in Mbilima have some of the finest coffee cherries in the entire world, their coffee being honored as the best in several competitions. The owner of a Mbillima coffee plantation proudly said, “Coffee provides for houses, cows, and schooling. This was a very good season. Maybe we can purchase new land. My children grow up so well because of coffee. I want the next generation to do better than I did.”

Check out Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee if you are interested in learning more about their coffee as well as their work in Rwanda. Their slogan is “Drink Coffee, Do Good.”

All Photographs copyright Gary S. Chapman

(Nikon D3s, 70-200mm 2.8 @200mm, 1/500 sec, f2.8, ISO800)

(Nikon D3s, 24mm f1.4, 1/1000 sec, f3.5, ISO200)

(Nikon D3s, 50mm 1.4, 1/500 sec, f2.2, ISO400)

(Nikon D3s, 24mm f1.4, 1/800 sec, f2, ISO200)

(Nikon D3s, 70-200mm 2.8 @200mm, 1/640 sec, f2.8, ISO250)

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