Reviving Congo’s coffee industry
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Coffee was the second most important export for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and among the world’s finest, just four decades ago. But marred by civil conflict, the country’s production has fallen 10-fold since 1980. For many hard-working communities that have farmed these lands for generations, their way of life is now at risk of disappearing.
Nespresso hopes to turn the industry around with its Reviving Origins programme. Launched in 2019, the programme has enabled production of exceptional coffees from the challenged areas of Zimbabwe and Uganda, and now, the DRC, to become available as seasonal coffees for Nespresso coffee lovers.
The programme’s iteration in the DRC has produced a blend called Reviving Origins Kahawa ya Congo, a sweet, fruity, flavourful coffee from Lake Kivu’s volcanic shores. Nespresso, together with global non-profit TechnoServe, the US Agency for International Development and coffee trader Virunga Coffee/Olam International, are working with 2,500 farmers in South Kivu to improve coffee quality and yield, and embed sustainable farming practices, while increasing incomes.
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Nespresso is also expanding the programme across North Kivu to potentially include up to 1,700 organic certified farmers. For farmers, the programme brings about hope and change in a country that has been held back by decades of political and economic unrest.
“I see my remaining days being better than those in the past, because I am going to work, assured of receiving regular pay and a bonus each time after the coffee sale,” says local coffee farmer Turanyi Kabasura.
“In my whole life, no-one has ever given me such a bonus. I can use that to develop other strategies, such as raising small livestock, or my wife can run a small business. I am starting to see the results of my work.”
Available in SA, the Reviving Origins Kahawa ya Congo blend is just one of the ways Nespresso plans to uplift the people in Congo. Yassir Corpataux, coffee ambassador for the Middle East and Africa, says it’s one of the most exclusive blends produced by the programme and its impact will be felt in various sectors in the DRC, including health care and the overall livelihoods of the Congolese people.
“Through our Reviving Origins programme, we’re helping the farmers of Kivu to restore Congolese coffee to its full glory and rebuild their livelihoods, while bringing vital social support to enhance the welfare of the communities behind our Kahawa ya Congo coffee,” he says.
The programme is also in the process of expanding across North Kivu to potentially include up to 1,700 organic certified farmers. Beyond the speciality blend, Nespresso has partnered with the Eastern Congo Initiative, to support the establishment of 23 water access points across the Kivu region, in addition to one primary and five mobile health clinics, which will deliver 13,000 health consultations per year to local communities, helping in the fight against cholera, a major health issue in the country.
A way to put agency and financial freedom in the hands of the community, the coffee is also described as exquisite in taste thanks to the rain-rich volcanic soils along the Kivu lakeshores of Eastern Congo, which is ideal for growing specialty Arabicas.
The Organic Kahawa ya Congo coffee is split roast, meaning that a small portion of the beans get a darker roast to bring out the full intensity and body of the coffee. In cup, the smooth and balanced Arabica reveals alluring sweet cereal and nutty aromas, reflecting its ideal terroir origin. With milk, meanwhile, these aromas are transformed into a light, sweet and creamy cup full of biscuity notes, a hint of walnut, and a silky texture.
Kahawa ya Congo is now available online and at Nespresso Boutiques and Booths, alongside other blends from the programme such as Amaha awe Uganda and Tamuka mu Zimbabwe.
Visit the Nespresso website for more information.
This article was paid for by Nespresso.
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