Read on to find out a bit about each of these coffees
Vunga Cooperative Families is a woman-led, well-established small cooperative. They began their partnership with Muraho Trading Co, who help affiliate cooperatives increase their quality of production, fetch a higher price for their coffee, and introduce them to new markets, in 2017. The cooperative itself however, has been in operation since 2009. Vunga's producers receive bonus second payments as well as health insurance through the cooperative.
Vunga is a well-known washing station, though it is located in an area of Rwanda where very little coffee is produced. It has a reputation for producing extremely high-quality coffee, placing 13th in the Rwanda Cup of Excellence in 2012 and 4th in 2014. In 2020, the region was hit by an environmental disaster. Landslides and persistent rainfall which spread across the region, caused monumental damage to communities and their livelihoods. Through the support of the coffee community, importers and Muraho Trading Co were able to help support the rebuilding efforts.
All of Vunga's cherry is hand-sorted before a pre-pulp float. Underripe or damaged cherry is removed, along with any foreign objects. Cherries are then floated in pre-pulping tanks removing any floaters and later pulped. Next, the coffee is fermented in dedicated concrete fermentation tanks for an average of 12 hours. During this time, the fermented parchment is agitated several times throughout the day to encourage lower density parchment to float and to clean any residual mucilage of the parchment.
After fermentation, coffee is released into a large serpentine grading channel. This process also separates parchment into different density grades. Once the parchment is separated into grades, it is given a final post-wash rinse. At this point, coffee is then taken to a pre-drying area where the parchment is hand-sorted removing any insect- damaged, discoloured or chipped coffee. The parchment is laid out to dry and turned on a regular basis throughout the day for 30 days.
Zapoteco is an association of 180 coffee producing families from three towns in the Sierra Juarez. The Sierra Juarez, as well as being the birthplace of Benito
Juarez- Mexico’s first President of indigenous origin- is a temperate mountain range to the north of Oaxaca city. Los Machos, the group who produce this Zapoteco coffee, is led by Romulo Chavez. Romulo has been working for several years now to establish direct relationships with buyers in order to obtain higher prices for the producers of Los Machos. He has also fostered a very strong communal outlook for the association and its producers. Most members of the association are of Zapotec heritage and speak Spanish as second language after Zapoteco. There is a very strong, communal aspect to Los Machos across its three towns that is deeply rooted in the historical ties of the community to the region. Rather than employ pickers during the harvest, when a member’s coffee is ready to be picked, several neighbours will help the producer to harvest their coffee. Instead of payment, the producer whose coffee is being harvested is expected to cook lunch for everyone and in turn, to help pick the coffee of those who helped them when their coffee is ready. Farm sizes range from 0.5 to 5 hectares but the average member of Los Machos has less than one hectare of coffee and produces between 100 and 150 kilos of parchment per year. The coffees are pulped and fermented, often in hand built, wooden tanks, then dried on petates, traditional woven mats.
This coffee from the SHANTAWENE community is a micro-lot and has been called “ODAKO” to reflect the powerful culture of Shantawene, Sidama people. Odaco is a popular tree name in shentawene, Bensa. The Odako tree is where the SHANTAWENE community meets under the tree to resolve the conflicts in the area.
There is a similar tradition in other parts of Ethiopia as well for example (in the Oromo, known locally known as " odaco ". ) The coffee is sourced from 563 Daye Bensa member farmers from the SHANTAWENE area and Gatta Daye Bensa Farm. Daye Bensa micro-lots are a limited production, this approach help them to focus on the quality of the beans. As soon as the coffee is received it gets sorted by floating and picking out the ripe cherries. Then dry it on African beds for 13-15 days; one person is assigned per each individual bed to rotate the cherries every 15 minutes to ensure uniformity of drying. At Daye Bensa traceability is extremely important for their micro lots. The record-keeping book is carefully handled and separation is key to guarantee the highest level of quality when the cherries are received they got separate by village, the coffee is then kept separate throughout drying, processing, and storage, with labels stating the delivery dates, farm name, lot number, and more details related to the particular lot.
We purchased this coffee through import partner Falcon Speciality and have contributed to their ‘Stumping’ project in order for farmers to have a higher yield of coffee cherries from their trees.
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