Gitwe is a washing station located in Nyamasheke district in south western Rwanda, one of the regions with a high concentration of coffee trees and washing stations. At a very high altitude, Gitwe is surrounded by hills covered by green coffee trees, and the volcanic soil off the shores of Lake Kivu, make this coffee some of the finest in the country. There are 800 farmers in total who are delivering their coffee to the station.
When Rwanda Trading Company (RTC) purchased the station in 2017, the plan was to process high-end specialty fully washed coffee, and also look to experiment processing natural coffees at the station.
Cherries delivered to Gitwe are pulped right away using a McKinnon Disc Pulper, fermented for 8-12 hours, and then sundried on raised beds for 10-15 days. A portion of the cherries purchased from farmers at Gitwe is dried without pulping to make the naturals, a process that takes 3-4 weeks for the pods to be fully dried.
Once processed, the coffee is then left to rest before being transported to the RTC warehouse in Kigali, where it is milled and prepped ready for shipment.