It’s been years since the Democratic Republic of Congo has been able to put forth quality Arabic coffee into the marketplace, but things are changing. Decades ago, Lake Kivu was the hub of coffee production for Congo, but in the aftermath of the 1994 Rwandan genocide and DRC’s own civil war, the industry decayed. Individual farmers continued producing, albeit with primitive equipment and with little access to international markets. To sell their coffee, they would smuggle their crop across Lake Kivu into Rwanda, traveling at night in small boats and bartering their beans for food and other essentials. One thousand lives were lost each year from drowning, simply trying to make a living.
One Congo farmer recalls, “I had to bribe the police to be able to cross to Rwanda by boat. I saw boats sink because the waves were huge. Many people in my village died that way, leaving their children orphans and without any kind of assistance.”
Today we hear a different story, and it comes from the Muungano Coffee Co-Op in the Eastern part of the Congo. ‘Muungano’ means ‘togetherness’ in Swahili it’s a guiding principal for the farmers of Muungano Coffee Co-operative. Muungano’s farmers have the perfect conditions to produce top grade specialty washed-Arabica coffee and they are wholly committed to fulfilling this potential. They are investing in coffee nurseries and building community-level micro-washing stations; and renovating the land by planting new seedlings and harvesting the coffee scrupulously. They have also taken great measures to preserve the land by tending the soil with homemade compost and mulch instead of chemicals. The Co-Op is also planting trees with deep roots to strengthen soil conditions eliminating landslides that have ravished the area in the past.
We are proudly offering, for a limited time, The Muungano Roastmaster Select, coffee from the Muungano Co-Op in the Democratic Republic of Congo and supporting the model by which they now live; “Unity is strength, coffee is life”.
Process: fully washed, sun dried
Aroma: Sweet, floral, fig
Taste: mandarin, grapefruit, berry
Acidity: citrus, crisp
Sweetness: Cane sugar