The problem is that because the coffee farms are so small in Rwanda the farmers are lacking in the resources and technology to quickly load and transport the coffee. The faster the transportation the better the beans hold their flavor. Unlike in the US, few families in Rwanda own cars, let alone donkeys and a cart. Hence the organization that I am featuring today: Project Rwanda. "Project Rwanda is committed to furthering the economic development of Rwanda through initiatives based on the bicycle as a tool and symbol of hope. Our goal is use the bike to help boost the Rwandan economy as well as re-brand Rwanda as a beautiful and safe place to do business and visit freely." They have identified several initiatives including: 1) Build Awareness for Rwanda, 2) Creation of Specially Designed Bikes, 3) Bike Distribution in Rwanda, 4) Enhancing National Pride in Rwanda. Visit their website at: http://projectrwanda.org/cargo-bike So what can you do? Buy and enjoy some of the best coffee in the world! Go to: http://woodenbikecoffee.com/
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
The subject today is coffee. I really like coffee, but mostly only high quality coffee with lots of sugar and creme. Most people have heard about Ethiopian grown coffee since Ethiopia is reportedly the birthplace of coffee. They also have elaborate coffee ceremonies and I can vouch after being in Ethiopia that the country is crazy about their coffee and it is really good, perhaps among the best in the world. So I was surprised when I started reading about the coffee industry in Rwanda. I then picked up a bag of Rwanda coffee at who would guess, Target of all places. I have to say I now LOVE my Rwanda coffee. So I did some Internet research and it turns out that Rwanda has nearly 500,000 small coffee producers and the country has generated between 15 and 35 million in annual revenue from coffee exports. In 2002 they made a significant leap in being able to sell coffee directly to US and European companies for prices much higher then what the traditional multi-middle-man system allowed. The coffee beans grown in Rwanda are of the old heirloom ‘bourbon’ varieties, the same type of coffee bean which grew wild in Ethiopia when coffee was discovered.