It’s the most popular beverage in the world, every year over 500 billion cups of it are consumed, and it’s the second most traded commodity in the world. It’s Coffee!
For most of us, the story behind coffee is all about our relationship with it. Our first coffee in the morning. Our favorite coffee place. Our own coffee mug and our special way of making it (of course everyone else is making it the wrong way).
The thing is, we drink our coffee without a second thought as to the story of the coffee beans themselves, and it's actually an interesting one.
The Bean Belt
Coffee beans are mostly grown in the equatorial region of the Americas, southeast Asia, India and Africa - also known as the Bean Belt.
Brazil - Over 2.5 billion kg
Vietnam - Over 1.6 billion kg
Colombia - Over 800 million kg
Indonesia - Over 739 million kg
Ethiopia - Over 384 million kg
Most of the coffee crops are grown by farmers from developing countries, providing a sustainable living to many of them. Unfortunately, even under fair trade rules, from each cup of coffee drunk around the world, coffee farmers and their employees receive less than a third of one US cent.
This small amount reaching farmers is mostly due to an inefficient agricultural trading process. This process relies heavily on multiple intermediaries that handle the coffee across the supply chain. Companies like Avenews-GT help farmers transact directly with industrial food buyers to shorten the supply chain and make more profit.
In the coffee plant's natural habitat it takes between three and five years for the plant to produce the 'cherries' (with the beans inside!). When ripe, the cherries are harvested mostly by hand, although some large-scale farms use mechanical harvesters.
The harvested coffee beans are either left to dry in the sun, or processed wet to separate the pulp and the beans. Later they are hulled and polished, then graded and sorted by quality. The next step is usually to export the unroasted green beans to their final destination where they are roasted and branded.
There are two main species of coffee bean, the Arabica and the Robusta. Arabica makes up 70% of the world's consumption and its caffeine content is slightly lower than the Robusta, which is stronger in flavour. People have their own opinions, but Arabica is considered far superior in quality to Robusta.
Coffee beans from a coffee plant that is grown without the use of synthetic fertilizers or pesticides, on soil that was given sufficient time to detoxify itself, without using any genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) and finally that was processed and packed without the involvement of any chemical.
There are few exotic coffee beans worldwide, but one of the most expensive is Kona coffee and even moreso the organic Kona coffee. Only coffee beans grown in the Kona Districts of the Big Island of Hawaii can be described as "Kona".
Organic Kona coffee is grown on fertile volcanic soil on farms that do not use chemical fertilizers or chemical pesticides. They are absolutely dependent on the fertility of the soil that is rich in nutrients from volcanic ash and lava.
Kona coffee has a distinct taste and flavor due to the climate and soil in that region and while organic Kona coffee itself is already a delicacy, the Peaberry variety is the best. A bit of advice to the coffee buyers, always check for a certificate of authenticity and “100% Organic Kona Coffee” label to avoid fraudsters that try to sell regular coffee under the Kona Coffee variety.
Emerging Coffee Markets
By riding booming demand in the developed world for specialty brews, Rwanda has made premium coffee-growing a national priority and is achieving international recognition as a producer of some of the world's best coffee.
Rwanda is characterized by high altitude, volcanic soil, plenty of sun and equatorial mist, making Rwandan coffee wonderfully sweet, either bright with clear citric characteristics, or plush and full of berry and chocolate like flavors.
Not only does it taste great, but every pound of Rwandan coffee sold directly helps the local community. According to USAID, since 2002 approximately 50,000 rural households have seen their incomes from coffee production more than double, and some 2,000 jobs have been created in the Rwandan coffee industry.
Avenews-GT is dedicated to supporting Rwandan coffee farmers. By connecting them directly to global coffee roasters we help to bring their quality product and unique story to the world.
The more you consume coffee from Rwanda, the more you give Rwanda hope.