Its so easy to not give a second thought to where a product comes from.
Take your mobile phone or computer you’re reading this on right now. You drove to the store, purchased it on sale. When it needs updating, you buy another, without a second thought to the factory it came from or the people who work there.
But what if your favourite brand suddenly wasn’t available? What if you knew their stories? You had followed their journey from a far and looked forward to their latest release? Call it brand loyalty.
The fruits of their labour enriched your life and made you smile, although you had never met there was a connection. You knew that shelling out your hard earned cash on their product was money well spent, without second thought.
Three years ago, I sampled the first lots of coffee from Vunga CWS exported by Muraho Trading company. Along with Shyira CWS, they made an impact as some of the first Rwandan coffee I’d tasted, and provided the foundation for Rwanda becoming an origin that I dearly love. Each year I was lucky enough to get fresh lots from Vunga (and Shyira) thanks to friends, Flight Coffee.
Raw Material’s fixed price model and quality bonus matrix, having injected a voluntary payment of $0.50usd /KG into Vunga was the catalyst in telling the stories of the coffee.
Naturally I had the desire to tell the stories of Muraho Trading Company, for thanks to their partnership with the Vunga CO-OP an impact on my coffee career had been made that would change my direction in ways that I could not have imagined.
While social media has been fantastic for living vicariously, following the developments of producers who’s coffees and stories have inspired me, Social media also helps these producers tell their stories in their own words. I had seen from other producers that Rwanda was being affected by flooding, however the gravity of the situation was not apparent until May 28, when I woke to read a post from friends, Raw Material that began with “With a grave and heavy heart that today I learned of the tragic events out of Rwanda” left me echoing the same response.
The “Black Coffee Friday” coffee at our sister business, The Village Snob was planned for the very next day. We were to be using the Aeropress to brew Vunga, as I had seen earlier that our friends Vanguard coffee (October 2019 collab) had it on roast.
I instinctively felt I needed to help and contacted Raw Material just after 7am to see if I raised funds, that they could ensure they got to Muraho and distributed to those who needed them most, followed promptly by contacting Vanguard Coffee Co to order some more Vunga, enough to share with a bigger audience.
A huge debt of gratitude and shout out to the all round awesomeness of Vanguard who answered the call and went one better donating the requested coffee so we could donate 100% of the sale price to the cause, postponing our Vunga feature a week.
One thing that I’ve learned about the coffee community is, there is a very close knit bunch who really do care, from seed to cup, they’re in it for the love of coffee and the community who owe their livelihood to it, no matter where in the world they live.
Our good friend Origins Cafe in Whanganui called upon us to co-host a fund raiser tasting, a line up of Rwandan coffees, to which we managed to assemble 5 Muraho Trading Company coffees, representing Shyira CWS, Rugali CWS (May 2020), Gisheke CWS (Mothers day 2020), Vunga CWS and Kilimbi CWS alongside Reubengera from Kopakama Co-op (Kopakama Co-op are the parent coop of Ejo Heza (August 2019). Note: Bumbogo CWS was absent as it was unavailable in NZ and due to Covid-19, impossible to source from UK in time to share a full Muraho line up.
We couldn’t think of a better way to honour those who had lost their lives and way of life than sharing their coffees and their stories for a donation, to help restore their community.
That day we raised $400au for Nyabihu, bringing our combined (A Bunch of Snobs & Origins Cafe) total to $1200au, our fundraising remains ongoing and will continue for as long as Nyabihu needs our help. All donations are mede through a GO Fund Me set up my Raw Material and Muraho Trading Company.
Posted: Saturday 18 July 2020