Riitta Ekholm

Coffee Bean Origin: Rwandan Mountains

Rwandan coffee comes from small farms. Paulig’s Anna Vänskä and Marja Touri were charmed by the beauty and cleanness of Rwanda during their trip to learn about the country’s coffee production.


It is incredibly tidy in Rwanda. It is even prohibited to bring plastic bags into this small and densely populated country. The fascinating streets are colourful and lively, and the same atmosphere is also found at the coffee processing facilities. The feel is laid back, and not at all chaotic.

Origin of Rwandan coffee

In Rwanda coffee berries – or cherries – are picked by hand and delivered to processing stations where barefooted men tread on coffee cherries in outdoor tanks while singing.

Once separated from the cherries, the beans are sorted using water as well as a rake-like tool bean by bean. After sorting, the beans are placed in the sun to dry. Because the beans are sensitive to humidity, a sudden breeze of wind signalling rain spurs the workers into action as the tables need to be quickly covered with tarpaulins. 

Coffee beans
Fields of coffee in Rwandan farm.

Coffee chains differ a lot from each other from country to country: in Rwanda the production is fully in small farmers’ hands. Farm sizes range from 0.1 to 0.2 hectares in contrast to, for example, Brazil, where a farm with less than 20 hectares is a small one.

Paulig visited Rwandan coffee farms

”Harvesting was just about to begin, and we had many great experiences during our journey,” says Paulig Sourcing Manager Anna Vänskä. During harvesting, a few hundred or even a thousand farmers deliver their coffee cherries to the local processing station the same day they are picked.

Vänskä and Paulig Chief Taster Marja Touri attended an event organised for 200–300 farmers once a year at a coffee processing facility. 

”In my speech I emphasised the fact that Paulig values the work done by farmers and their efforts to improve quality,” Anna Vänskä says.

Rwanda is all hills and mountain sides. The soil is volcanic and therefore favourable for coffee cultivation.

”One of the most beautiful countries I’ve ever visited,” says Vänskä.