I have always had a fascination with the Congo – perhaps from a movie I watched as a child. What a different place and culture – often seen in a dark light, coffee from there serves as a beacon of light in a troubled place.

SOPACDI (Solidarité Paysanne pour la Promotion des Actions Café et Development Intégral) is an organization comprising more than 5,600 farmers, roughly 20 percent of whom are women, located near Lake Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Each farmer has a very small area of farmland for coffee (fewer than 2 hectares on average), and tenders cherries to SOPACDI through the organization’s 10 collection subgroups.

Joachim Munganga, who was a farmer himself, founded SOPACDI in 2003 by restoring a washing station in the area, which provided service and market access to the growers in these extremely remote highlands. Before he undertook this work, farmers had little to no means to transport coffee to the markets, and instead were forced to simply barter their coffee locally for food, clothing, and necessities. The cooperative was the first to achieve Fair Trade certification in Congo, and the coffee also carries organic certification. Members of the cooperative represent several different ethnic groups, speaking Kirundi, Kinyarwanda, and Kihavu, and many of the women members are widows.

Tasting Notes:
A super clean lot from the Congo; no earthy funk in this cup nor over the top herbal like so many Congo lots. Amazing considering all the trouble this year in the Kivu; beautiful prep on these beans. Great floral and soft fruit tones upfront, not too overwhelming or potent like some Africans, delicate sweetness balanced with a little chocolaty spice. Smooth with almost a brown sugar hint at a strong medium roast. Pretty much everyone will love this coffee and a great everyday drinker.

Roasting Notes:
Easy to roast and tasty at most roast levels. Lots of small little hints that get burned out into 2nd crack make this tailored towards lighter roasting but tastes great as you push it towards or into 2nd crack. A strong medium roast was our favorite, just starts popping out that caramelization tone without burning out that complimentary floral/fruit tones.

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