There’s power in your cup – and it’s not just the caffeine. Your daily brew can contribute to sustainability in the world coffee industry and the societies it fuels. Not all coffee is equally enjoyable, neither is it equally sustainable. In a really great cup of joe, however, you’ll find both of these characteristics.
People who appreciate coffee understand that there’s a story in every bean, which they savor sip by sip. It takes them backwards in time to the hands that picked the cherries, and the soil in which they were grown. Knowing that both the environment and those involved in cultivating it are being treated with the respect they deserve enriches the coffee drinking experience, while exploitation and other dirty words sully it.
For centuries, we’ve known that coffee is more than just a drink. It’s a connector – bringing people together. The very act of grinding and pouring links us to a long line of other people – beginning with those in the fields. Being conscious of that brings the essence of sustainability home: we’re all in this together, and we all deserve a chance at a good life.
Selecting a sustainable coffee requires some research and a bit of thought. It helps to look at the brand’s understanding of sustainability and how they put that into practice. Some companies may define sustainability as a strictly environmental concern, others as exclusively about fair labor practices. However, real sustainability recognizes the interconnectedness of it all, and so works in ways that protect both nature and people.
As a premier Rwandan coffee brand, Kivu noir strives to do just that. Our Red Bourbon Arabica beans are picked by hand in fields along the western shores of Lake Kivu. The harvesting is done mostly by female coffee experts from the local communities, who also play an important role in our coffee processing.
Our washing stations use a hydropower plant that actually generates energy, and bean waste from the washing process is used to nourish young coffee trees. We respect the environment.
The local coffee experts we mentioned have many a story to share, including some very sad ones. Rwanda’s history is not a kind one; there is much rebuilding that has been done but much also to be done – and Kivu noir is committed to being part of this. We work to support and empower our employees and their communities, many of whom survived the Genocide against the Tutsi of 1994.
The spirit of the local women, who are passionate and determined to create a better future, is infused in our coffee – and by supporting us, you stand with them and their families.
Sustainability in coffee is synonymous with fairness and respect. In turn, at a company, that translates to safe, healthy, uplifting work that gives more than it takes. We employ Fair Practices to do just that. We share a portion of our proceeds with our employees. We provide free healthcare for our farmers and their children as well as free education. And we have much more planned. We’ll be writing those stories one bag of beans at a time.