The country of Rwanda has changed a great deal since my first visit in 2005 — English has replaced French as the primary second language, they have created a great deal of business infrastructure and established themselves as the business center of central African. Coffee growing has also changed a great deal, too. Rwanda has adopted much of the African coffee growing technique in terms of washing and drying. Before the genocide most Rwandan coffee was commercial, low grade and sold to Belguim. After the genocide, when the world came to Rwanda’s doorstep, coffee was recognized as having a specialty coffee foundation similar to Kenya and Tanzania. New methods were adopted and upgraded including coffee cherry picking procedures, washing stations,...
I first visited the carefully manicured farms of Roberto Orantes in 2020. This spectacular coffee farm curves around a volcanic lagoon called La Laguna, for which the coffee is named. Meticulous washing, drying and resting protocols are the reason we have brought in this small farm coffee for many years.
Each coffee growing country and region yields a unique coffee profile. Colombia is no different. For instance, the Caficauca cooperative is in the Southern Cauca region and at the meeting point of three spectacular mountain ranges of the Colombian Andes. This rich volcanic soil brings rich buttery beans. The people at Caficauca in Popayon carefully coordinate this important origin for us at Cravens Coffee. Also, near this region is AMUCC, the Association of Women Coffee Farmers. This small group in the Cauca region comes together to produce a high standard of coffee they set for themselves. A caramely, rich bean.
Travelling through Ethiopia you realize how difficult it is to track and trace the grading of coffee as it works through the system. For example, because coffee is mostly grown in garden-like farms, it can be very loose and random as to who is doing what. It can be hard to discover which coffees are from which farms. As with all coffee origins, it is vital to have relationships with the right people on the ground in order to secure the best coffees.
Seeing coffee agronomists at work first-hand allows an even greater appreciation for how hard it is to grow the spectacular coffee we source at origin. Coffee farmers are at the mercy of mother nature, and the variances of growing on either side of the equator — a million things can go wrong. Plants can be eaten by insects and pests, fruit infested with mold, and trees can easily become overgrown. The farmer walks a tight rope hoping for enough rainfall yet plenty of sunshine to ensure the sugars of the fruit develop. It is our privilege at Cravens Coffee to honor these farmers with each roast.