I came across this article about Fair Trade at the Oromia Cooperative in Ethiopia. The article touches on a Fairtrade Climate Standard to help farmers acquire an alternative stove – to replace the traditional ‘three-stone’ fire. Given the cooperative’s focus on coffee, the new stoves are destined for coffee producers. The stoves mean that there is less need for gathering of firewood, ergo more time for other activities, less pressure on the standing forest, and less smoke in the home. While there are all sorts of additional spokes to the wheel of combatting climate change, this is one positive effort for a coffee producing cooperative. And, this particular cooperative produce some excellent organic coffee beans, which we enjoy roasting and brewing. Groups like FairTrade International and 1% For Women provide great opportunity for agriculturalists worldwide, and especially women farmers. We at the Roastery are proud members of both groups.
When I first opened our new bag of green Fair Trade Rwanda Dukunde Kawa, I was amazed at the clean and deep color. And of course, I was excited to work on the roast to see what we could pull out of our Rwandan, specialty grade coffee. I dropped it into the Diedrich IR-12 as any other African bean, assuming the first crack would happen at a fairly consistent temperature, which informs when I load the drum. After a couple roasts, just lighter or darker than the last, we dialed in the profile; it’s a wonderful cup.
Profile: A medium roast with medium to lighter body. Complex. Dry finish. Floral, hibiscus. Winey.
Notes on the Dukunde Kawa Cooperative, from our Fair Trade certifiers, Fair Trade, USA:
Founded in 2000, The Dukunde Kawa Cooperative (Musasa) cultivates its high-quality coffee near a mountain gorilla habitat in central Rwanda. By producing high-end coffee for the international market and employing a majority female workforce, the cooperative ensures maximum benefits to local families. In 2003, it built a washing station with funds provided by the Rwandan ministry of defense. In exchange for this support, the Dukunde Kawa cooperative donates 10 percent of its net profits annually to fund the construction of other washing stations throughout Rwanda.
Fair Trade 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. Eighty percent of Dukunde’s producers are women.
In February 2005, the Coffee Review gave Dukunde Kawa’s coffee a rating of 90 points and recommended their coffee to those “moved by the miracle of mountain gorillas, by the recovery of Rwanda, and by the miraculous pleasure of a delicately lush coffee like this one.”
I came across this 6 minute video on coffee. The video takes you through some of the process of production and generally describes the regions where coffee is grown. It’s truly a coffee 101 piece, and interesting to learn the geography. We at the BV Roastery and Bongo Billy’s have coffees from about 30 different countries of origin, all Arabica with a variety of subspecies.
We at the Buena Vista Roastery and Bongo Billy’s Coffees are embarking more formally on a quest to support terrestrial carbon sequestration. For two years we have been advancing our environmental commitments and pursuit of the triple bottom line – financial security coupled with long-term environmental regeneration as well social prosperity. So far, I am happy with some of our efforts, and know that there is plenty yet to do. One of the things we can do is be more proactive with dealing with carbon. [Read more…]
Trouble in Kenya
There is a very large, very severe drought in Kenya. TheÂ New York Times’ Lush Land Dries Up, Withering Kenya’s Hopes relates the story, noting many of the factors that contribute to the devastation. Wells drying up, political turmoil, the untouchable elite and NGO crew in the nation’s capital, fighting for grazing lands, and lack of rain. This will impact coffee availability and coffee prices, perhaps driving up the price per pound of green another $1.50, perhaps more. All in all, it’s a situation that has gotten some press and aid programs are dolling out porridge and water as best they can. Stock are culled, either by their owners or because of starvation and dehydration. [Read more…]