Coffee from Congo Bourbon Kivu, a jewel among the Premium African coffees
It is evident that in Cafés Caracas we love coffees of African origin, that is why we have added one more variety to our list: Congo Bourbon Kivu, a premium Arabica coffee that joins KENYA AA EMBU, ETIOPIA YRGACHEFFE, BOURBON KIBIRA and UGANDA BUGISU AA.
Meet the home of our Mug of Excellence IX: Congo Bourbon Kivu
The Democratic Republic of Congo (hereinafter DRC) is located in the center of the African continent. It is the second largest country in Africa and the fourth most populated, with 87 million inhabitants.
It is a country of great contrasts: On the one hand, it is extremely rich in highly appreciated and well-known natural resources such as gold, cobalt (essential element for the latest generation of batteries), copper and diamonds, but also in high quality Arabica coffee. On the other hand, despite all this wealth, its population lives in extreme poverty, with a per capita income of €1.9 per day. It is also one of the most corrupt countries in the world.
The situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo: the brake on the development of this high quality African coffee
To speak of the DRC is to speak of instability. Since its independence from the Belgian metropolis in 1964, the country has been plagued by continuous internal disputes. In addition, two civil wars, in 1993 and 2004, have wreaked havoc, costing the lives of more than 6 million people.
The country's constant armed conflict over the control of its natural resources hinders the development of its economy. In the case of coffee, its production is seriously affected when these conflicts reach the growing regions, since its producers have to flee the area, paralyzing all productive activity.
Precisely, the actions of the militias and the protests occur, above all, in the east of the country, where the arabica coffee plantations such as the one we are presenting are located.
From growing robusta coffee to growing premium arabica coffee
The first references of coffee cultivation in the DRC date back to 1881, but it was in the middle of the century that the DRC became a leading power in the cultivation of Robusta coffees. In the 1970s production was nationalized, but continued its positive development until wars broke out and production collapsed.
Since 2010, despite all the political, social, infrastructural and basic supply constraints, the country is betting again on coffee, although this time it is betting on high quality arabica varieties. The State and NGOs are supporting local cooperatives to provide them with all the necessary training and resources to carry out coffee processing.
Especially the eastern part of the country, bordering Uganda and Rwanda, is a privileged enclave for the cultivation of this very special coffee. This is due to its mountainous profile, its frequent rains, as well as its volcanic soils rich in natural nutrients. It is an area of dense vegetation and great biodiversity.
Coffee cultivation in the Congo: an opportunity for many families
It should not be forgotten that one of the DRC's greatest treasures is its people, who work with admirable selflessness, endurance and dedication to achieve progress. Little by little, this great potential of coffee, cocoa and other plantations is beginning to translate into a source of prosperity for families, as well as an incentive for young people to lay down their arms. Thus, coffee can not only be a source of prosperity... but also of peace and hope.
In this sense, the work of some NGOs that focus on improving productivity, quality control, infrastructure and distribution networks is particularly relevant in order to improve the quality of life of coffee growers, who, as is usually the case in African countries, are very small and have to group together in order to have access to basic technology for coffee processing.
In addition, this improvement in funding translates into greater access to education and health care for these communities.
Where is Congo Bourbon Kivu coffee produced?
The main Arabica coffee growing areas in Congo are located near Lake Kivu, specifically in the northern part of the so-called "Little North", an area of about 10,000 square kilometers bordering the famous Virunga National Park, the largest Gorilla reserve in the world.
These coffees are grown in the mountains created by the Albertina fault. They grow between 1,400 and 1,800 meters above sea level, in volcanic soil and with abundant water. The result is aromatic coffees, with citric acidity, specifically flavors of blackberry, grape and lemon.
Other areas where Arabica coffee of great international recognition is produced:
- Ituri: is located in the north of the country, in a very mountainous and rugged area with very fertile clay soils.
- Bord du Lac: located south of Lake Kivu between the country's border with Rwanda, on the Albertine Rift. It is composed of three main producing areas: Kabare, Kalehe and Idjwi Island).
- Finally, still further south, Ruzizi, which is characterized by its Bourbon coffees with citrus and fruity notes.
Without a doubt, all of them are firm candidates to become our cup of excellence in the not too distant future.
CUP OF EXCELLENCE:
Within the North Kivu Region, our cup of excellence comes from a cooperative of small producers in the town of Hutwe, practically on the shores of Lake Edward. It is the legendary Bourbon varietal.
CONGO BOURBON KIVU CONGO COFFEE TASTING NOTE:
It is a coffee with great personality that will not leave you indifferent. It has a light fragrance of white flowers, with vegetal notes reminiscent of asparagus. It is intense, with a great body and high acidity.
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