South Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo
$19.00 | 12 oz bag
The challenges of working in the Democratic Republic of the Congo can be staggering at times, however, so is the potential to produce staggering coffee quality in this Central African nation. This organic coffee comes to us from the Buchiro washing station found on the shores of beautiful Lake Kivu. Buchiro—which is run by the Muungano Cooperative—could not be better positioned to execute the potential quality we are talking about. Rich volcanic soils, local Bourbon varieties, and breathtaking elevations converge in this selection to bring vibrant flavors of clementine, black tea, and green grape.
Counter Culture has been looking for potential partnerships in the Democratic Republic of the Congo since 2013 with mixed results. Finding the right combination of quality, logistical coordination, sustainability goals, and motivated producing partners can be difficult in any supply chain. In the DRC, this task has been daunting. During this period of exploration, we met the Muungano Cooperative through a partnership with Twin Trading, a UK-based non-profit company focused on rural development and market linkage. The cooperative was established in 2009 in Kiniezere—a small community located in the province of South Kivu—and began working with Twin Trading the following year. Meaning "union" or "togetherness" in Swahili, Muungano has quickly grown to more than 4,000 smallholder producers in 16 communities across the province.
After tasting promising samples from the Muungano cooperative over the past few years, we decided to focus on this group for the 2017 harvest. Counter Culture purchased a moisture meter for Muungano, made visits during the last two harvests, and committed to purchasing coffee from Buchiro washing station—one of three owned by the cooperative. During our visits, we were impressed with the dedication and leadership of Muungano’s General Manager, Daniel Habamungu. Daniel, along with Quality Manager Ismael Lipanda, worked to ensure the coffees set aside for Counter Culture met our physical and sensory quality standards. Additionally, the two closely monitored the complicated logistics of moving coffee quickly to the port of Mombassa, Kenya, nearly 1,000 miles away. This year our coffee arrived in the U.S. a full two months ahead of schedule, and we can only attribute this feat to the superb communication and dedication of our partners across this supply chain.