This specially prepared, natural process coffee comes from Dukunde Kawa Musasa Co-operative in the Gakenke region of Northern Rwanda. The co-op is one of Rwanda's largest, with over 2,100 members, whose farms range between 1,700 and 2,000 masl. 'Dukunde kawa' means "Let's Love Coffee" in the Kinyarwanda language, in reference to the power of coffee to improve the lives of farmers in rural communities. This lot is Fairtrade & Rainforest Alliance certified.
Producers In Rwanda's rugged Northwest, founded in 2000, The Dukunde Kawa Musasa Cooperative cultivates high-quality coffee near a mountain gorilla habitat at around 1,800 masl. By producing high-end coffee for the international market and employing a majority female workforce, the co-operative ensures maximum benefits to local families. In 2003, it built a washing station with funds provided by the Rwandan government. In exchange for this support, the Dukunde Kawa donates 10 percent of its net profits annually to fund the construction of other washing stations throughout Rwanda.
Fairtrade Certified since 2004, Dukunde Kawa secures a high standard of living for Rwandan farmers by ensuring access to an economically and environmentally sustainable coffee industry. Before the proliferation of washing stations such as those owned by the co-op, the norm in Rwanda was for smallholder farmers to sell semi-processed cherries to middlemen, bringing low prices and severe hardship to farmers. Today it's a different story: farmers who work with the co-op have seen their income at least double.
Eighty percent of Dukunde Kawa's producers are women. Each member has been able to buy a farm animal, and many now have health insurance for the first time. Dukunde Kawa also built two schools for local children in 2006 and provided members with long-term credit at no interest. In addition, many farmers renovated their homes, and now all members' homes have tile rather than grass roofs.
Process Ripe cherries are hand-sorted and floated to separate by density, selecting only the highest quality for processing. The cherries are then dried in the sun on raised African beds for 20-25 days, allowing many of the sugars from the fruit to transfer into the bean, giving the coffee a sweet and jammy profile. The cherries must be constantly turned and sorted during this period to ensure consistent drying and prevent over-fermentation. Specialty natural processing is somewhat unusual for Rwanda, which has seen a surge in fully-washed processing since the year 2,000.
Region Gakenke district lies in northwest Rwanda near the Volcanoes National Park, home to 1 of only three populations of endangered mountain gorillas in the world. Like much of Rwanda - "the land of a thousand hills" - the terrain is mountainous, rugged, and exceptionally beautiful. Rich volcanic soils, plentiful sunshine, and tropical rainfall provide exceptional conditions for the cultivation of arabica, and the Bourbon variety particularly excels in the high elevations of Rwanda's mountains. --Olam Specialty Coffee
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