Two months ago, we introduced you to coffee from the Democratic Republic of Congo, where money was being invested to help restore the nation’s coffee industry. The hope, as it is in many parts of the world, is that specialty coffee will boost the economy and help end instability. Just east of the Lake Kivu region where our coffee came from, is Rwanda, where that hope has become a reality. After the horrific genocide of 1994, Rwanda’s conflict receded and though wounds that deep cannot heal overnight, it’s hard to comprehend how different the nation looked just six years after the traumatic upheaval. Thanks to support from the international community and the demand for specialty coffee, Rwanda is not only stable, but they have an respected and prosperous coffee industry.
Even though you just read that, it might be hard to comprehend what a big difference coffee made in Rwanda. This New York Times article from 2006 profiles Gemima Mukashyaka, a coffee farmer who escaped the genocide and doubled her income thanks to support the nation gave its farmers. In 2000, when Paul Kagame, was sworn in as Rwanda’s president, he saw the potential to work with the international community and embraced it, declaring coffee a priority and promising to bolster the coffee industry using government funds. Though Mukashyaka doubled her income, a figure from PEARL (Partnership to Enhance Agriculture in Rwanda through Linkages) says most farmers tripled their income. Over the years coffee has remained front and center. In 2017, Rwanda even passed a minimum coffee price that farmers must receive which sought to cut out middlemen who would buy from locals and resell to an exporter. While the country still has its issues, Rwanda is a shining example of what coffee can do to make people’s lives better.
This month, we are selling coffee from Kinini Village, founded by Jacquie Turner and Malcolm Clear. The ambitious projected helped forty-eight farmers, 85% of which are women, in Rwanda’s northern province to start farming coffee. This is remarkable because Jacquie and Malcom decided to help farmers learn to grow coffee rather than invest in those who were already producing coffee. It also makes a lot of sense. Rwandan coffee mostly comes from small farms where farmers grow a variety of crops. Still, the project was unique in its approach. Kinini Coffee agreed to provide all the farmers with coffee trees, training, and the infrastructure to sell to the rest of the world. All the farmers had to do in return was bring their crop to the beautiful new washing station Kinini build where they would be paid. They also built a cupping lab, dry mill, and provide satellite imaging to help their farmers make smart growing decisions. It’s no wonder the coffee tastes so phenomenal.
Not only is this coffee unique and delicious, it is an excellent representation of the flavor profile Rwandan coffees are known for. Rwandan coffees typically have a creamy body, bright citric acidity, and have sweet notes of raisin and caramel. In Kinini’s coffee we taste lemon, golden raisin, cantaloupe, persimmons, and brown sugar. When we brewed it as espresso, we tasted lemon drop candy. We are really pleased to have found such an excellent representation for our subscribers.
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sweet and complex
golden raisin, lemon, cantaloupe
brown sugar, persimmons
1800 – 2200 meters
Lot Size: 11100kg, Cup Score: 87.75
Kinini Coffee Cooperative
Northern Province, Rulindo District
Relationship Established: 2020
Green: $11.71/kg, FOB: $7.50/kg
Transportation: $.50/kg, Production: $8.973/kg
Fair Trade Price: $3.09/kg
If you want to be the first to experience incredible coffees like this from a differently place around the world every month, be sure to subscribe to Coffee World Tour.