Riziki Jean and Eric Maboko of Buchiro

Kiniziere, Lake Kivu,
(Democratic Republic of Congo)

Cooperative: Muungano
Elevation: 1450-2000 meters
Varietals Grown: Bourbon
Harvest: March-July

Lemon, spice, grapefruit, herbal

Best brewing: Chemex
Recommended ratio: 17:1
Acidity:  sparkling, juicy
Body: full

(Pictured above: Muungano coffee producer Riziki Jean and Assistant Manager Eric Maboko at the Buchiro washing station.)

Coffee from the Muungano cooperative in the Democratic Republic of Congo is a standout among our offerings, presenting incredible cup quality with characteristic juiciness and distinct herbal and grapefruit notes. “Muungano” means “togetherness” in Swahili, a perfect description of this emerging group of farmers who have joined together across communities after decades of conflict. DR Congo is home to many of the economic slaves of the world, both historically and today. A country the size of Western Europe, it has a population of 70 million, an average life expectancy of just 51 years, and an average income of only $200.

The very first contact with indigenous Congolese came with explorers who were determined to conquer the last impenetrable part of Africa. From Dr. David Livingstone to Belgium’s King Leopold II, countless individuals and groups have used the Congo as their personal playground of riches, taking advantage of the region’s vast store of natural resources. Rubber, ivory, and more recently minerals have been expropriated via systems of forced labor and massive human rights violations.

Coffee represents a sliver of hope for the DR Congo, and we jumped at the opportunity to engage in a movement for peace through economic development not based on conflict or exploitation. Through coffee, it is hoped by many, local Congolese can begin to rebuild their communities following years of strife. On the Ground’s Project Congo focuses on empowering women in the region, facilitating gender equality workshops and providing medical supplies for the Lemera Hospital, which serves survivors of sexual assault and their children.

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