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The Rwanda Project

We are so excited to introduce our second impact project! Our Impact projects are small scale projects designed to deliver big results… If coffee is an important part of your life, you need to know that its future is at risk! Our guiding focus to all that we do sees us asking how we need to work to build an industry that works for everyone. You can play a crucial role in helping us achieve this, one cup at a time!

Possibly the greatest challenge posing the coffee industry today is the incidence of aging coffee producers. The profession is simply not an attractive one resulting in the average age of a farmer or picker being between 55-57. Thanks to decades of power imbalance, economic instability and growing uncertainty thanks to climate change, youth are moving to cities or to other sectors leaving a question mark over the industry’s future.

Your puchase plays a role in building the next generation of coffee farmers in Rwanda. Shop the Cyato Collection to support this project.

Shop Cyato Collection

Building the next generation of coffee farmers in Rwanda.

Why is this impact project important?

Our Rwanda supply partnership is one of the most important ones we have built in recent years. Founder Hols met with Chris and Divine Rugira (owners of Tropic Coffee) whilst in Kigali, Rwanda in 2018. Together, they own the Cyato (Chee-ah-toe) washing station which processes the coffee cherries of producers surrounding the Nyungwe forest - a well known area for outstanding coffee production. Over the next 3 years, we were delighted to build a relationship with Tropic Coffee through the purchase of some phenomenal coffees and it is now one of the most important partnerships we have.

Through our working relationship, we began to explore how we could deepen our impact beyond our purchase contracts and so started conversations with Chris and his team in 2021 to understand more about the challenges faced within the local area. At the same time, our longstanding wholesale customer Baltzersens (a coffee shop and bakery business in Harrogate) reached out to ask how they could assist our work using the funds they had collected through charging for single use takeaway cups. As a key component of the Baltzersens house blend, a project in Rwanda seemed like the perfect fit.

Chris outlined a need to bring more young people into the industry, many of whom were working in local mines for Chinese-based companies or who had migrated out of the region assuming there were better opportunities elsewhere. He identified an 8-hectare parcel of land that was currently being underutilised as a possible test farm to distribute coffee seedlings to youth in the area and essentially help get them started in the business of producing coffee.

In collaboration with Baltzersens, we therefore sponsored the preparation of the land to clear it and to plant out 20,000 coffee seedlings - the idea being that the 20 participants in the program will each receive 1000 trees to cultivate. 

The next phase will see us assist with funding to provide organic compost, harvesting support and agronomy training before the first crop becomes available in 2024. It is our hope that the project will yield around 60x60kg sacks of coffee which we will purchase at an outright price guaranteed to cover the costs of production, recognise the quality and bring about a profit for the new producers. 

We are very much seeing this as the start of what we hope will be an impactful and fruitful relationship for all involved!

Holly Kragiopoulos, Co-owner, North Star Coffee Roasters in Rwanda 2018.

Chris & Divine, Tropic Coffee

Paul, Baltzersen's

Try coffees from Cyato Washing Station

 
 

The Cyato washing station employs a phenomenal team of coffee processing staff who utilise a range of techniques to extract the coffee beans from the delivered cherries. We are therefore able to showcase a range of processing methods and the impact these have on cup profile with a number of lots that are all the same varietal from the same region but that display different flavours thanks to the post-harvest technique applied. 

Take a minute trip to Cyato Washing Station

Thank you!

It is down to your support that we are able to utilise our position within this global supply chain to effect the change we need to see. Your purchasing of our beans since our inception has helped us to build a business that can legitimately become a force for good. We are so excited to continue developing relationships with these young entrepreneurs and will update this page in the coming months as the project progresses.

See our other impact project

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