Our 2018 Reserve coffee is a blend of two farms supplying the most amazing coffee and both make a positive impact in the coffee industry. In the first interview we met the Rwanda farmers from the Shyira Washing Station. Their story highlights why we wanted this coffee to be part of the 2018 Reserve and how we as roasters and consumers can support local initiatives.
Part 2 continues below.
What is the biggest challenge for the coffee growers in Rwanda and what action should producers, roasters, and consumers take for a sustainable future?
With Rwanda being a small country, we also have small-scale farmers with an average of 200 trees per farmer. Other challenges are: to find lands for coffee extensions, the knowledge of coffee farming, access to inputs and equipment’s hence low productivity and less income.
Farmers have high production cost vs. selling prices and limited access to researchers to improve on variety, soil conditions, etc. Climate change (our farmers rely on rain only) and unstable coffee prices (market volatility) also are also challenges for farmers.
Growers should take action and do farming as business and improve on farm maintenance activities by implementing all good agricultural practices on time and choose and work loyally with good partner.
They should create other income generating activities to supplement coffee and involve their children (youth) in coffee farming. Roasters and Consumers can help by promote specialty coffee by selecting high-quality coffee, pay better/fair price for better/higher quality coffees and build long run partnerships with a group of farmers or exporters they work with. A sustainable relationship is vital.
By doing this consumers and roasters contribute to the good living, social activities with the community they source coffee from and ensure and sustain good prices that motivate farmers to remain in coffee.
What would you like the Australian consumer to know about your coffee and the Shyira Washing Station?
We are driven to showcase to the world what Rwanda specialty coffee is all about. However, not only the coffee, but more importantly our People and Origin. Rwanda has come very far from the horrific Genocide that took place in 1994 to the striving country it is today. This unbelievable turnaround is huge credit to the Rwandese people and generates the true meaning of HOPE to the rest of the world.
Our focus being specialty coffees, we always believed strongly we have to achieve something more personal in terms of marketing the people, origin of Rwanda and spectacular coffees this country has to offer to the world. We don’t really have a company ethos/statement rather we strongly believe that us as the final exporters should not be the only ones benefiting, instead everyone involved along the supply chain at origin should win!
The quality of coffee produced by Shyira CWS speaks for itself. Shyira CWS is truly special and has a very unique flavour that you would have not tasted in any other Rwandan coffee. We always use the term “Watch this space” and we truly mean it when it comes to this little baby station of ours.
We are a small, innovative, young and family orientated company with a strong principle of taking care of our people and community. Hence, we proudly state “People ALWAYS come first!”
What is your favourite coffee and how do you prefer to drink it?
Gaudam – Shyira FW Straight black no sugar, brewed in French Press/Filter or on espresso. Depends on my mood!
Emmanuel – Shyira FW and Rugali Natural. Black with 1 teaspoon of sugar (Not bad for a Rwandan this one teaspoon. Emmanuel used to have 4 to 5 teaspoons per cup but has learnt to love, appreciate and taste coffee with no sugar or at least 1 teas spoon of sugar haha).
Karthick – Hard to pick but I enjoy our Rugali and Shyira FW. Black - French Press or Filter, no sugar. Love a flat white - but only when in New Zealand and to an extent in Australia.
This is the second part of our series of interviews with the producers of the coffee sourced for our 2018 Reserve Blend. Available to order now.