DRC SOPACDI Women’s Coffee Project Microstation
Region: Kalehe territory, South Kivu
Altitude: 1,600 m.a.s.l.
Tasting Notes: passionfruit, apricot, toffee, luscious
Democratic Republic of Congo is less well-known for specialty coffee production than neighbouring Rwanda and Burundi, but this lot is one of a few we've tasted that show the origin has the capacity to produce very high quality coffee. We love it not only because, as a female-run business, we like to get behind female producers but also because it is stunningly good coffee. Incredibly juicy with complex notes of apricot, passionfruit, sweet citrus and rhubarb, the tangy fruit is balanced out by a toffee-like sweetness. Make it as a pour over for a luscious brew that will be gone too soon.
This coffee comes to us via Solidarité Paysanne pour la Promotion des Actions Café et Development Intégral (SOPACDI), an organisation of more than 5,600 farmers in the remote highlands near Lake Kivu. Twenty percent of the organisation’s farmers are women and this lot is made up of their coffee. A “micro-station” lot simply means that the coffee is kept separate during processing to highlight a particular feature, in this case, the high quality of the women producer’s coffee. It also means that female producers, who are underrepresented and underpaid across the coffee industry, get a higher price for their efforts.
The members of SOPACDI are smallholder farmers, with usually just a hectare or two of land under cultivation. They sell freshly picked cherries to SOPACDI, which takes care of the milling and processing. The organisation was founded in 2003 by a former farmer, Joachim Munganga. The goal was to increase quality through careful processing and to provide access to the specialty market for farmers who would otherwise have bartered their coffee locally for food, clothing, and necessities. SOPACDI was the first Fair Trade certified organisation in Congo, which means that they commit to pay farmers a specific percentage above the commodity market rate for their crop.
This coffee was depulped then fermented for 12 hours in tanks, then washed and sorted in water channels before being placed underwater and fermented again for another 12 hours. It was dried on raised beds under a shade cover of netting; the drying process takes 16–25 days on average.
You can read more about the history and current state of specialty coffee in DR Congo on the importer’s website: Cafe Imports .
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