Tomorrow I will buy a couple pounds of Rwandan Coffee. When I first went to Rwanda to manage an economic assessment of US government investments I took the opportunity to go to the farmer cooperative in Maraba that served as the pilot activity for organizing poor, small coffee farmers into cooperatives and helpling them improve their coffee quality. And of course we had coffee. I'm not normally a coffee snob, but Rwandan coffee is smooth, with an increasingly complex palate over the years, and it packs a nice kick! It still remains my coffee of choice. Fortunately I can get it if I look, from the trendy Bourbon Coffee in DC where I will go tomorrow and also in Cambridge MA where I will be in a couple weeks, to my hometown roaster Paramount Coffee in Lansing Michigan! Best of all, the economic analysis showed that by improving their coffee quality and using cooperatives to link with international buyers, coffee growers and their families were able to climb out of poverty. Over 80,000 Rwandans escaped the poverty trap because everyone likes a better cup of coffee!
3/14/2012 12:57:34 am
I appreciate your helpful, healing work. Particularly now as America has a world wide black eye. Not everyone returns to Africa for 25 years, so thanks again.
5/19/2012 12:44:02 am
UPDATE: President Obama in his pre-G8 speech yesterday referred to the large numbers of Rwandan farmers emerging from poverty due to improvements in the coffee subsector!!
3/14/2012 11:43:48 am
I'd be interested to know if the farmers figured out, on their own, the connection between quality of their coffee & a better quality of life or did another government step in & helped them figure it out? Just curious. And do they have an espresso grind? ;)
3/14/2012 05:06:19 pm
From Denise question, yes farmers have seen the connection of the quality coffee they produce and better quality of life for the last seven years of US investment in Rwanda. They know now that a better quality pays off. Farmers do have their own way of preparing coffee using affordable equipment made by themselves. They can't afford sophisticated machine found in Western Countries and we have found for them an alternative way to enable them to have a fresh cup of coffee from their kitchen trough a program called" Brew Your Own".
3/20/2012 12:23:10 am
So very interesting! We, in the U.S., take our every-day machineries for granted [amongst so many other things] and here other countries have to be creative in order to survive (I know this first-hand, as an immigrant). Thank you for the reply to my query. So ...is there an espresso grind? ;) I would love to taste this coffee via my espresso maker (=
7/9/2012 03:48:48 am
Great post, thank you.
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James F Oehmke
My biases are socially liberal and fiscally conservative, but I try to present objective economic analysis and interpretation in my blog.