Citrus, Redcurrant, Toffee
Roast ? We hand-roast our coffees in batches to develop the natural flavours and aromas - dark roasts give richer, chocolatey notes, whereas lighter roasts allow fruity, zesty flavours to come through.
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Fruity, full bodied and perfectly balanced. The world's first Rwandan specialty coffee. Grown by Abahuzamugambi Ba Kawa (though we just call them Maraba). We began trading with Maraba in 2002. They were just a small group of farmers, back then. Today, they’re a co-operative of 1,500.
Abahuzamugambi ba kawa, but we prefer to call them Maraba, is the umbrella cooperative organization that oversees and manages the activities of four coffee washing stations; Sovu, Kibingo; Kabuye and Cyarumbu. These are equivalent to the micromills of Central America. The cooperative has 1372 members of which 768 male (56%) and 518 female (44%). The coffee producers are from various sectors of Huye district. These producers are really tiny scale; on average each farmer has 435 trees. What we like about Maraba is that it provides several social functions as well coffee production. Rwandese are obligated to have medical insurance.
But for poor, rural families is a great cost, and not all families can afford to pay this. Therefore, the income the cooperative earns from producing coffee is used to pay medical insurance for two family members. Similarly school fees for poor rural families are expensive. The school year in Rwanda starts in January before the harvest in April. But in January many families have run out of cash, so we support the cooperative by advancing the school fees which producers pay back in coffee production. The cooperative also provides micro-credit for emergency or a special event such as a wedding. These credits can be repaid with coffee cherry. They have constructed a TELE-CENTER a place where villagers can print and copy, and internet available where members can take a computer courses.
It can take several hours for producers to carry their coffee cherries to the CWS, to facilitate the transport of the coffee cherries by producers the cooperative has established collection points where farmers can deliver their freshly picked crop. Here the coffee is weighed then collected by truck and taken to the CWS. These producers without means of transport can still sell their coffee to the cooperative. The Coffee Washing Station operation has created a lot of seasonal employment in an area where there is little economic activity. Men and women have the opportunity for a job to process, dry or hand sort and select the coffee. At each harvest hundreds of workers are contracted to perform these tasks.
Abahuzamugambi Ba Kawa was one of the first Union Direct Trade relationships we founded in 2002. And it is heartening that all their efforts and ours, over the past years have been very fruitful. Every year the cooperative has won various prizes in the Taste of Harvest competition and the Cup of Excellence (CoE), taking top places. Here, we offer a preparation, specially hand-selected for us that the farmers call an “exceptional lot”.
The Union relationship is not “just a buyer”, but to provide long-term support to Maraba so that farmers we engage with can prosper:
Union Hand-Roasted Coffee provides:
- Minimum purchasing commitment to give members of the co-operative with the security they need to invest in their land and locality.
- Forward financing, either directly or via financing agencies. This ensures cash is available to pay farmers at the time of picking and also enables essential supplies that directly affect coffee quality to be purchased.
- Visits at least every 12 months to develop strategy for the season, to assess quality and review for the following year.
- New projects to improve capacity building and strengthen governance and leadership within the co-operative.
Through our combined efforts the local district has transformed itself; building a clinic, bank, bustling twice-weekly farmers market, primary & secondary level schooling, and even 6 hairdressers and other ancillary shops and services have opened – creating a genuine sense of community where once there was only poverty and despair. Much progress has been made at the Co-operative level: purchasing trucks to collect and deliver coffee cherries to washing stations, installation of groundwater treatment facilities to ensure no contamination of the environment and construction of additional coffee washing stations have increased capacity and hence income.