So now we are going to choose to focus on our Rwandan Maraba Bourbon which is one of our newest V60 Filters on the menu and has slowly taken over from the Indian Monsoon as a good entry level coffee for our customers. This is what our roaster Union had to say about it…
Abahuzamugambi ba kawa cooperative produce an exemplary crop from 100% Bourbon cultivars. Because of its lower yield, this varietal is not widely commercially produced in the global coffee market, compared to modern varietals. Bourbon is highly noted for the natural sweet fruity flavour attribute and rich silky body. Although Rwanda has grown coffee commercially since the early 1900’s, it was not noted for producing beans of gourmet quality until the initiative of the USAID funded PEARL, project now SPREAD, in 2001.
Union were an early adopter partner with this organization to develop a sustainable commercial relationship with Abahuzamugambi Ba Kawa, bringing their coffee to the attention of the specialty market as Rwanda Maraba Bourbon “World First single origin Rwanda coffee” and “World First Fairtrade produce from Rwanda” in February 2003 in the Comic Relief Red Nose Day campaign. Since then, Rwanda Maraba Bourbon has been heavily cited as the instrument of transformational change, and Rwanda is the new darling for the speciality coffee disciples.
Abahuzamugambi Ba Kawa is known as Maraba because that was the former name of the sector, now renamed Huye. Everyone knows Maraba, and it’s easier to pronounce. It’s comprised of 1200 farmer members, who each have families and children that extent to around 6000 people. Over the years, the success of Maraba has been the beacon to which other co-operatives aspire towards and they’ve demonstrated what can be achieved by “people who work together in coffee ”Abahuzamugambi Ba Kawa”.
The Union relationship is not “just a buyer”, but to provide long-term support to Maraba so that farmers we engage with can prosper.
Minimum purchasing commitment to give members of the co-operative with the security they need to invest in their land and locality.
Forward financing, either directly or via financing agencies. This ensures cash is available to pay farmers at the time of picking and also enables essential supplies that directly affect coffee quality to be purchased.
Visits at least every 12 months to develop strategy for the season, to assess quality and review for the following year.
New projects to improve capacity building and strengthen governance and leadership within the co-operative.
Through our combined efforts the local district has transformed itself; building a clinic, bank, bustling twice-weekly farmers market, primary & secondary level schooling, and even 6 hairdressers and other ancillary shops and services have opened – creating a genuine sense of community where once there was only grinding poverty and despair. Much progress has been made at the Co-operative level: purchasing trucks to collect and deliver coffee cherries to washing stations, installation of groundwater treatment facilities to ensure no contamination of the environment and construction of additional coffee washing stations have increased capacity and hence income.