CUPPING NOTES: BOLD, chocolate, nutmeg, earthy, dark
“Making women’s coffee work count” – This is what inspired Rugori (Women’s Crown) Gasharu Coffee, a coffee lot that is solely produced and processed by women. The majority of work in coffee farming and processing is done by women but only a small percentage of the proceedings from coffee goes to women despite having taken on the majority of responsibilities in their households. This coffee is meant to learn from the Rwandan culture and portray the real image of the acknowledgement that should be given to women’s work in coffee value chain. Urugori “women’s crown” is a crown that women in Rwanda are given after giving their first birth as symbol for motherhood. It is a symbol of respect and recognition of their contribution to the society. Considering that more than 70% of Gasharu coffee employees are women, this coffee is meant to continue acknowledging women’s contribution to the coffee community and creating a transparent framework through which they can benefit from additional proceedings resulting from their work. This is not only fair to them it is also a great contribution to their households and the environment as a whole. It has already been evidenced that by adding more money in the hands of women, communities can eradicate malnutrition, illiteracy and catalyze girls’ education. All of these are critical for women empowerment and are the biggest mitigators of climate change.
About the Farmer:
The story of Gasharu Coffee goes back to 1976 when 17 years-old Celestin Rumenerangabo planted his first coffee trees in Nyamasheke.
A farmer and buyer of cherries, he grew the business to what it is today.
The year 1983 was a turning point for Celestin. He got married to Marie Gorette, a 22 years-old teacher. With Marie Gorette and his mother in the house, Celestin's coffee business became a true family business. Together, they established more partnerships with coffee farmers and new farms. Because of Celestin's wife teaching background, the business also started to support schooling for children from coffee farming families working with the family.
They now have 2 washing stations, Gasharu and Muhororo, and can export beans from nearly 1650 farmers directly.
Today, the farm is managed by Celestin's son, Valentin Kimenyi.
Over the last 43 years, they've maintained an unwavering dedication to making the highest-quality coffee they can.
Coffee has been critical to rebuilding the community after the 1994 Tutsi Genocide and it remains an important part of their culture and ways.
"With local businesses being taken over by large multinational companies, we are aware that we have to make Gasharu Coffee more resilient. We have improved our sourcing and processing methods, encouraging curiosity about innovative ideas to take coffee to the next level, producing naturals, honeys and experiments" says Valentin.
Meet our sourcing partner:
Umuko Coffee may be a new company but our legacy is over 43 years in the making. Jean Christophe (Chris) Rusatira’s family has been growing and processing coffee in Rwanda for more than four decades and during that time their profits have remained extremely low, with little to no improvement to the quality of life in the community. Only 10% of the profit they generate stays in the country. Unfortunately, this experience is standard among coffee growers. Our desire to empower coffee farming communities by disrupting a system that takes so much more than it gives while bringing exceptional coffee to the American market is the force that drives this enterprise.
Umuko is the Kinyarwandan name for a native East African tree species which held great significance for the people of the region. Umuko branches were used by nomadic herders to kindle fires and when they were ready to move on, they would leave the banked embers nestled in the roots of the tree, ready to aid those who came along after. It is this spirit of sustainability and care that is at the heart of Umuko Coffee’s unique business model.
Umuko Coffee is committed to breaking the cycle of poverty in coffee farming communities who have long suffered from unfair practices in the industry. We recognize that coffee growing and processing is skilled labor and deserves to be compensated as such. This spirit of collaboration and cooperation along the supply chain helps to build strong, sustainable communities that are capable of weathering inevitable challenges and allows farmers to put their gfocus into growing the finest crops possible.