Producer: Umoja Cooperative (11,600 members)
Region: South Kivu
Certifications: Organic, Rainforest Alliance, Fair Trade
Variety: Mostly Red Bourbon with other varieties
Elevation: 1480 – 2000 masl
Soil type: Volcanic Soil
Harvest: March - June 2020
Washing Station: Umoja Washing Station
Process: Fully Washed
Exporter: Mighty Peace Coffee
Importer: Mighty Peace Coffee
Tasting Notes: Lemon Zest, Honey, Orange
Brew Methods: Batch Brew, Manual Brew
Umoja Cooperative was born 10 years ago in order to create solidarity amongst the farmers in South Kivu, D. R. of Congo. The people knew that joining forces would make them less vulnerable against commodity market volatility and pooling resources would enable them to invest back in their communities more easily. This is not an uncommon organizational structure in farmer communities of East Africa and this strategy of solidarity proved to be right. Currently, Umoja Cooperative consists of 11,600 members who inhabit the land between Lake Kivu and Mitumba mountain range to the further West. Their farms spread over a terroir with volcanic soil that’s suitable for growing complex and high-quality coffees.
Umoja coffee is a community lot. In other words, around 1000 smallholders (0.5 hectares/farmer on average) contribute to this larger lot. The cooperative produces only washed processed coffee: after the cherries are sorted and pulped (seeded), the beans are piled up and dried/fermented for twelve hours. Then, they keep fermenting underwater for another 12 hours where the microorganisms separate (i.e. eat) the remaining mucilage from the seed. Before final drying, the coffee is washed and soaked underwater for 12 hours again. As the coffees are processed, Linda Mugaruka (Chief Quality Officer & Partner of Mighty Peace Coffee) curates different flavor profiles from these coffees based on their quality and characteristics which are then organized into community lots. This approach is economically more sustainable for the region’s farmers since it helps the cooperative sell a larger part of the harvest.
Mighty Peace Coffee exported and imported Umoja Coffee. The company was born in 2018 and founded by an international team with a diverse background. It is one of the very few Congolese coffee importers that have partial Congolese ownership and has an all-women executive team. Mighty Peace is determined to build a new sourcing model where producers have a seat at the table, while also encouraging a smaller carbon footprint in coffee cultivation. Linda Mugaruka is responsible for assuring consistency in coffee quality and for building relationships with the producers. To learn more about Mighty Peace and to find out where the name comes from, feel free to visit https://mightypeacecoffee.com/