Buf Café / Coadeka-Bukonya / Land of a Thousand Hills [Rwanda]
[Image credit: Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee Company]
For many getting through the day without a cup of coffee can be a struggle, I don’t drink coffee – it works rather too well keeping me wide-awake for days – but I do like the rich aroma of roasted coffee beans. However, coffee is among one of the most exploitative industries in the world a focus of many fair trade initiatives towards making a positive and lasting change; especially where fair wages and export tariffs are concerned. Recognising this need for change ‘Drink Coffee. Do Good’ is the mantra for one coffee company in Georgia, USA. Called Land of a Thousand Hills the company sources their naturally grown 100% Arabica coffee beans from the fertile hills of Rwanda.
The beans come from two farming cooperatives, Buf Café and Coadeka-Bukonya. Formed in 2006 Buf Café operates from two locations in southern Rwanda and has well over 2000 members. The cooperative is owned by Epiphanie Mukashyaka, a widow who became Rwanda’s first female entrepreneur after the genocide. The Coadeka-Bukonya cooperative has 110 members and was formed in 2007 and is presided over by Pastor Murindahabi Ildephonse. Bukonya is in the northern region of Rwanda and is now called Muzo, Gakenke. To ensure a superior cup of coffee, the beans are cultivated by hand and sorted five times before shipping to the US where an Artisan Roaster then roasts them in small batches for retail. Founded by Jonathan D. Golden, an ordained Anglican priest; the Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee Company has three coffee houses in Georgia, in addition to selling online.
[Image credits: Coffee Blends – Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee Company]
Not just coffee these coffee beans are seen by all those involved as a representation of reconciliation and forgiveness; helping to bring together a once-divided country. Just as friends get together to share a cup of coffee, so are these coffee farming cooperatives getting together and rebuilding friendships between once bitter enemies.
[Image credits: Ministry Launch – Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee Company]
As a socially-minded business, Land of a Thousand Hills doesn’t just buy the beans but has made an investment into the local community through various projects. Consumers are invited to get involved in helping change lives by getting your church, school or business involved; joining the Coffee Club programme; visiting the farms in Rwanda.
…or in their words simply, ‘Drink Coffee. Do Good’