The Rwanda Gitega Hill’s washing station is located in the Nyamagabe District of the southern province and is located very close to Nyungwe Forest and the traced source of the Nile River. Bernard Uwitije, a native of the area, had been trading non‐washed Ordinary coffee up until 2015, when he realised the potential for fully washed specialty grade coffee. Despite being his first time in processing fully washed coffee, he could count on his overall experience and knowledge when establishing the wet mill. He equipped the station with a 1500kg Penagos machine, fermentation tanks, and raised drying beds. These investments, along with strong oversight, has yielded very high quality parchment in his first full year in operation.
The average farm supplying to Gitega is at an altitude around 1650m, and that high altitude along with the volcanic soil of the area make Gitega an excellent location for high quality processing. One strategic area of collection is called Miko, which is made up of approximately 165 coffee farming families. The Miko farms sit between 1700‐ 1900m and have been consistent with strong yield and higher than average cup scores. Gitega Hills processed a little over 150 tons of cherry for the first year, but the capacity of the station has it positioned for growth in the coming seasons.
Following the pulping of freshly delivered cherry, the coffee is wet fermented and then the beans are sorted by density using water filled grading channels. The wet parchment is dried under cover for 24 hours before being moved to uncovered drying beds for an average of 15 days. During that period the coffee is continually hand sorted by an army of brightly clothed women, who are meticulous in their removal of defect beans.