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The Roastery

DR Congo Kivu

DR Congo Kivu

Regular price $13.95 USD
Regular price Sale price $13.95 USD
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VARIETY: Bourbon, Caturra, Catuai
ELEVATION: 1,600-1,800 meters
BODY: Balanced
NOTES: Tart and sweet with a smooth mouthfeel, cucumber, and cocoa flavors

SOPACDI coffee co-op (Solidarité Paysanne pour la Promotion des Actions Café et Développement Intégral) is a 1st grade cooperative group based in the provinces of North and South Kivu in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). SOPACDI was founded in 2001 but due to turmoil in the region, production could not begin until 2008. Peace and stability has returned, allowing the cooperative to blossom from 19 founding members to a membership that now totals over 5,300 producers. SOPACDI’s members are grouped into 43 “cells” spread across 8 sectors in eastern Congo. Women make up 29% of the membership, and they were Fairtrade certified in 2011.

The cooperative was created to enable local producers to unite together and commercialize their coffee for direct collective international export, instead of having to transport the coffee themselves overseas on a dangerous journey. Before SOPACDI was founded, farmers had to smuggle coffee across Lake Kivu to Rwanda to barter for food and goods. This sometimes resulted in people losing their lives when attempting to cross the lake in bad weather. Thankfully, SOPACDI’s creation means coffee producers can now safely cultivate high quality coffee together to export internationally.

SOPACDI grows its coffee near Lake Kivu in the Congolese highlands. The plentiful rainfall and mild climate create ideal conditions for producing high quality coffees. Producers pick ripe coffee cherries and transport them to SOPACDI’s washing stations. Coffee is then washed and dried in the sun, before being transported by boat for secondary processing in Goma. After this the coffee is transported to the Kenyan port of Mombasa or Tanzanian port Dar-es-Salam for international export. SOPACDI owns 4 central washing stations, central drying station and a cupping laboratory.

The Kivu region is divided into three subregions: Ituri, Nord-Kivu, and Sud-Kivu. Sitting directly on the equator, Kivu one of the most diverse in terms of elevation, flora, and climate. Most of the region's land would be considered a tropical savannah, but the high elevations of the Virunga mountains are temperate, rainy, and volcanic creating an ideal climate for coffee production.

This specific coffee come from a group of 105 Pygmy people (including 51 women) who live and farm in the villages of Mishebere and Ruhunde in the Kahele territory. Historically, Pygmy people have faced terrible discrimination and disenfranchisement, including being forced into slavery and/or low-paying work. SOPACDI has started this project to source and keep separate coffee from this group of growers in order to provide them a better income from specialty coffee as well as more financial independence and autonomy. The producers each own an average of 0.5 hectares and deliver coffee in cherry form to the washing station.

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