Producer: SOPACDI – Women’s Coffee Project
Harvest: March – June
Notes: White grape, brown sugar, lime
Certificate: Organic and Fair Trade
Although the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has a well-established history in the cultivation of Robusta as a cash crop, it is only just gaining a reputation for producing high-quality Arabica coffee. Situated in the heart of the African continent, the country enjoys incredible natural biodiversity and a range of different microclimates that favour coffee production.
Despite suffering from a poor infrastructure compounded by political and economic unrest over the past few decades – which have made specialty-grade coffee growing and sourcing a challenge – agrobusiness investment projects are now beginning to bear fruit. If this continues, the future looks hopeful for the rightful international recognition of high-quality Congolese coffee.
Founded in 2003, SOPACDI (Solidarité Paysanne pour la Promotion des Actions Café et Development Intégral) is a co-operative comprising of more than 5,600 farmers, of which a high percentage are women. The washing station is located in the Kalehe territory that borders Lake Kivu and was one of the first achieve Fair Trade and organic certification in DRC. The members of the cooperative represent several different ethnic groups, speaking Kirundi, Kinyarwanda, and Kihavu, and many of the women members are widows.
Sourced through our friends at Café Imports, this lot was harvested by more than 3,500 women smallholder farmer members who cultivate Bourbon and other coffee varieties in the sandy clay loam soils. Once the women have delivered their selectively picked ripe coffee cherries to be processed at the mill, the coffee is de-pulped and fermented for 12 hours in tanks. It is then washed and sorted in water channels before being fermented again for another 12 hours. The clean, washed parchment coffee is then dried on raised beds under a shade cover of netting and the whole process can take up to 25 days in total.
We are always looking to source exciting new cup profiles from lesser-known coffee producing origins and this delicious coffee immediately stood out for its complexity of aroma and vibrant tartaric acidity. Lightly roasted for filter, we dedicate this mouth-watering washed Bourbon to the hard work of the women coffee producers at SOPACDI by naming the coffee ‘Abagore’ which means ‘women’ in the local Kinyarwanda dialect. If you like your brew with bright tangy citrus notes complemented by a sweet caramelised brown sugar aftertaste that lingers long in the finish, this is the coffee for you!