by Kimberly Easson
With the new crop of Rwanda Buremera landing soon, we took the opportunity to visit the farmers who grow this coffee. We plan to begin roasting the latest arrival in early 2013.
Smiling children appear from everywhere – “Komera!” they shout and wave – their enthusiasm is contagious. You can’t help but wave back gleefully and shout “Komera”- be strong! It’s a heartwarming sentiment shared by the new generation of a country that is still shedding the pain of the 1994 genocide that claimed the lives of nearly one million people.
Rwanda is rebuilding – it’s a time of renewal and progress. You can feel it in the air – construction everywhere, bustling markets, lively exchanges among neighbors – it’s a vibrancy that did not exist when we first visited Rwanda in 2006.
We arrive to Buremera, winding through the lush countryside of Rwanda’s famous One Thousand Hills, a short two and a half hour drive from the capital of Kigali. Buremera sits at an altitude of around 6,500 feet and is among some of the best coffee land in the country. Here farmers produce coffee on very small plots of land – averaging just one acre, with 300 to 500 coffee trees. The quality comes from careful tending of the land and the intrinsic benefit of the ideal coffee climate.
The farmers are proud of their award winning crop – and the resulting high prices they receive motivates them to continue to improve their techniques, their organization, and their lives. They have more hope for their future now through their links to the market and companies like Equator Coffees.
The farmers were warm and welcoming, curious to learn more about Equator and where their coffee ended up. They were excited to see photos of our roasting plant and the Equator team. Many of them had never seen a roasting machine before.
It’s this kind of connection that Equator Coffees is based on – knowledge of place and people that fosters better understanding along the supply chain. This is key for not only the quality of coffee, but also the quality of life for the farmers and the health of the land on which they live.