Notes: Fruit salad vibes - bright tangerine and sweet grape acidity
Working with our coffee importer and the Virunga Coffee Company, we are delighted to bring this exciting coffee to you from the Award-Winning region of Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo or DRC).
The Virunga Coffee Company was established in 2011 by Schluter SA (now Olam Specialty Coffee Europe) with the vision to: “Change lives in DRC through commerce in a mutually profitable way by being a major coffee actor in Kivu.”
Coffee is a traditional export crop for the DRC. However, production throughout the latter 20th century and early 21st century faced a significant and steady decline because of decades of civil war affecting both processing and export infrastructure, as well as presenting challenging security issues for all sectors of the supply chain due to the increasing presence of militias in the region.
The Kivu Provinces, located in the far east of the country, are situated near the equator and the highlands of the volcanic Rwenzori mountain range, part of the Albertine rift, Africa’s largest tectonic fault line.
The terroir provides an ideal environment for specialty arabica cultivation, with plentiful sunshine and rainfall; high elevations; and rich, fertile volcanic soils. The two provinces are positioned north and south of Lake Kivu, one of Africa’s Great Lakes. Kivu drains into the Congo river and in turn, feeds the Congo basin: the second largest rainforest in the world, a key carbon sink and one of the richest sources of biodiversity on earth.
While the country and region still face challenges, specialty coffee production is bringing new investment, interest and hope to the Kivu region. From the construction and rehabilitation of washing stations to farmer training, and the development of nurseries, farmers are being provided with the tools they need to improve both yields and quality.
Virunga Coffee has achieved international standards of organic certification and now leads an organic partnership with over 2,300 smallholder coffee farmers. This has led to increased value for farmers, as well as ensuring that consistently high quality is achieved whilst respecting the environment through strict ecological practices.
For coffee communities such as Katanda, the economic situation has improved with value chain actors operating in the area to enable farmers to gain enhanced economic stability.