Update on the Roast-Your-Own-Coffee Program in RwandaRwanda is only a few hundred miles from southwestern Ethiopia, and the communities we work with around the tiny country produce some of Counter Culture Coffee’s favorite coffees: bright, sweet, fruity, and complex. Culturally, however, Rwandans are tea drinkers and most of the growers of these awesome coffees don’t drink coffee at all, much less their own. I wouldn’t argue with a Rwandan that coffee is more delicious than tea, even though I think it’s true, but I would (and do) argue that all coffee growers should know what their coffees taste like and, when they’re producing coffee of the quality that Nyakizu, Humure, Karaba, and Rusenyi are producing, appreciate that coffee. As growers learn to taste their coffees, they are in a better position to make changes to their cultivating, picking, and processing methods that will improve their coffee quality.
Six months ago, Counter Culture started working with our partners at the SPREAD project and RWASHOSCCO, as well as fellow coffee company Intelligentsia, to sponsor a Roast-Your-Own-Coffee program in Rwandan coffee-growing communities. The idea was to mimic the Ethiopian coffee ritual by distributing kits made up of a bicycle inner tube for removing the parchment from the coffee, a basket for winnowing the parchment away before roasting, roasting pot, and a mortar and pestle for grinding roasted coffee. The program launched in February and has been received with great enthusiasm so far among growers, some of whom are already figuring out ways to improve on the design of the kit to make it more popular and more widely used. We will continue to post updates as the project continues, and I am hopeful that after Counter Culture Coffee’s next trip to Rwanda, we will complain no more about the coffee we drank there!