The challenges of working in the Democratic Republic of the Congo can be staggering at times, however, so is the potential to produce staggering coffee quality in this Central African nation. This organic coffee comes to us from the Buchiro washing station found on the serene shores of Lake Kivu. Buchiro—which is run by the Muungano Cooperative—could not be better positioned to execute the potential quality we are talking about. Rich volcanic soils, local Bourbon varieties, and breathtaking elevations converge in this selection to bring vibrant flavors of clementine, black tea, and kiwi.
Mulungu, mixed Bourbon types
Counter Culture only roasts the coffea arabica, but, under the species of arabica, we buy dozens of different coffee varieties from around the world. Learn more about varieties here.
Processing is the method to turn the fruit from a coffee tree into dried green coffee ready for roasting.
This refers to the elevation at which this coffee was grown.
Through early-March 2021
This refers to the amount of time this coffee will be available for purchase at Counter Culture. Availability is determined by supply and also when the coffee tastes the freshest.
Counter Culture has been looking for potential partnerships in the Democratic Republic of the Congo since 2013 with mixed results. Finding the right combination of quality, logistical coordination, sustainability goals, and motivated producing partners can be difficult in any supply chain. In the DRC, this task has been daunting. During this period of exploration, we met the Muungano Cooperative through a partnership with Twin Trading, a UK-based non-profit company focused on rural development and market linkage. The cooperative was established in 2009 in Kiniezere—a small community located in the province of South Kivu—and began working with Twin Trading the following year. Meaning "union" or "togetherness" in Swahili, Muungano has quickly grown to more than 4,000 smallholder producers in 16 communities across the province.
After tasting promising samples from the Muungano cooperative over the preceding years, we decided to focus on this group beginning with the 2017 harvest. Counter Culture purchased a moisture meter for Muungano, made visits during harvests, and committed to purchasing coffee from Buchiro washing station—one of five owned by the cooperative. During our visits, we were impressed with the dedication and leadership of Muungano’s General Manager, Daniel Habamungu. Daniel, along with Quality Manager Ismael Lipanda, work to ensure the coffees set aside for Counter Culture meet our physical and sensory quality standards. Each year, the co-op has delivered lots exceeding those standards, and we’re excited to share what we feel is amongst the best examples of quality from a lesser known origin in Specialty coffee.
Potato Taste Defect
Like many coffees from the Great Lakes region of East Africa, there is a small likelihood of experiencing a defect called Potato Taste Defect, or PTD, when grinding your coffee. Though a bit unpleasant and highly aromatic, PTD affects individual beans and is completely safe to consume. We've measured the PTD incidence rate of this lot to be 1 occurrence in 5.5 pounds, on average. If you'd like to learn more about this defect, as well as some tips for avoiding it in your cup, check out this informative video produced by our Education department."
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