Over the next three weeks, Equator Coffees & Teas is fundraising for an amazing cross-cultural barista exchange! We are working to bring Dan Sibomana, a dear friend of Equator’s, from his cafe in Kigali, Rwanda to work with us in our stores.
Last fall Alexandra LittleJohn, our Director of Wholesale, and I traveled to Rwanda and helped open the incredibly unique Question Coffee Cafe. You can read more about our trip in the February/March issue of Barista Magazine.
While in Rwanda we developed friendships with members of the Rwandan coffee community, most notably Dan Sibomana a barista at the Question Coffee Cafe. Question Coffee in Kigali serves coffee from cooperatives that Sustainable Harvest’s Relationship Coffee Institute (RCI) works with. RCI’s mission is to increase the quality and therefore livelihood of women coffee farmers through agronomy and training in coffee production. RCI also teaches farmers what international buyers (and consumers) want in quality coffee, which is what makes the Question Coffee Bar is so valuable. The cafe, located in the RCI office, also houses their roaster and training lab. This allows Dan and the Question Coffee baristas to regularly serve coffee to the same women who grow the beans.
Dan is an amazing coffee professional, daily he shares his passion by customers of Question Coffee Cafe with the women who grow it. Question is a public cafe, and everyday Dan brews coffee to consumers where he answers questions about the farmers whose products they are enjoying. He also gathers questions from his customers to share with the farmers. It’s an incredibly direct loop of information and feedback that uniquely connects the coffee supply chain.
We are asking our community to rally around supporting Dan to come work with us here at Equator, and to take part in once-in-a-lifetime training opportunities. We are working to raise $5,000 to cover Dan’s travel expenses for a month long trip to North America. As you can imagine, we have quite a packed itinerary planned! A crash course in North American coffee culture.
The first stop in Dan's trip will be Let’s Talk Coffee conference in Mexico, where Equator’s Co-Founder and CEO Helen Russell is the keynote speaker. Lets Talk Coffee is a coffee conference that connects producers, roasters, and baristas from all over the world. Sustainable Harvest Coffee Importers is donating his admission and accommodations for this event (an $1,800 value). Dan will help organize coffee service for attendees and farmers from around the world and have the opportunity to exchange meaningful and impactful knowledge with professional baristas from both Mexico and America.
Following Lets Talk Coffee Dan will travel to the Bay Area, where we will join our Equator team in our cafes for an entire week. He will work at each store learning management and barista skills from our amazing retail team. Dan will have the opportunity to interact with our wonderful community here in the Bay Area. For those of you who anxiously await the next lot of seasonal coffee and who want to learn about the communities we are buying from, be sure to stop by your local Equator Cafe. Dan has beautiful stories to share with you about the farms he works with and brewing coffee for the women who work tirelessly to grow top quality for all of us to enjoy.
Finally, Dan will head to the Boot Coffee Campus for SCAA Roaster classes (donated at a $2,000 value). He will receive credits for these courses, help out in the lab, and make lasting professional connections. Boot Coffee is one of the premier coffee training academy’s and laboratories in the world, and it is located right here Marin County near our Equator Roastery.
To make this experience a reality, we need the support from our wonderful community to bring Dan here! You can contribute to this campaign in three distinct ways:
- Visit this Crowdrise page to donate directly.
- We are also taking in store donations at all five Equator Cafes. At the cash register you can donate any amount! Even if you can add just a dollar to your morning coffee order you will make a real difference.
- We are also running a special promotion with one of our great relationship coffees: Honduras COMUCAP. For every bag of this coffee sold in-store, Equator donates $2.00 to the fund to bring Dan here.
Thank you for your support. Coffee is a incredible connector, it brings together our local and global communities. I hope you join us in this effort to make our world a little more connected.
Devorah Freudiger | Director of Retail
Equator Coffees & Teas