Kawah coffee's story

Reflection: From Roots to Roast, the Story Behind Kawah Coffee

From Roots to Roast, the Story Behind Kawah Coffee

 

In the heart of Rwanda’s lush countryside lies a tale as rich and complex as the coffee beans that flourish in its soil. It’s a story of resilience, of heritage, and of the unwavering spirit of a community determined to rise from the ashes of tragedy. This is mine and Kawah Coffee’s story.

 

The journey begins decades ago, in the small village where my grandfather tended to the fertile land, nurturing coffee trees that bore the promise of a brighter future. It was a legacy passed down through generations, a connection to the land and to each other that ran deeper than roots entwined in the earth.

 

But amidst the tranquility of village life, darkness descended in the form of conflict and strife. At just 22 years old, my father was forced to flee his home, after his father was murdered. The years passed, marked by loss and longing, until finally, in 1994, the tide turned, and Rwanda emerged from the shadows of the Genocide against the Tutsi.

 

With a heart heavy with memories and a determination to rebuild what had been lost, my father returned to his homeland. But he did not come alone. He brought with him a vision of renewal, a belief in the power of community, and a commitment to honoring the legacy of those who had come before.

 

In 2001, the first seeds of that vision were planted, as coffee trees took root once more in the soil of the family’s ancestral land. With each tree carefully tended and each cherry lovingly harvested, the dream began to take shape. In 2004, the dream expanded, as a washing station was established to process not only our own coffee cherries but those of smallholder farmers in the surrounding community. It was a gesture of solidarity, a promise to uplift and empower those who now formed the community.

 

As the years passed, the farm grew and evolved, becoming not just a place of cultivation but a beacon of hope for the entire community. In 2009, a humble family home was built on the farm, a sanctuary where laughter echoed and memories were made. In 2012, with the support of the Rwanda Development Board, that home was transformed into a guesthouse, welcoming travelers from near and far to experience the beauty and hospitality of our corner of the world.

In 2021, a coffee roasting plant was installed on the family farm, allowing us to bring our farm-to-cup experience even closer to home. And in December 2023, Umurage Restaurant was born, a culinary tribute to the bounty of our land and the spirit of our community.

 

But it was in 2020 that my story truly took flight, as Kawah Coffee was born. From the misty hills of Rwanda to the bustling streets of Singapore, the aroma of our coffee began to spread, connecting cultures and creating moments of joy and togetherness across continents. I was able to tell our story outside of our homeland, building a direct connection between our community of farmers and our coffee customers, first in Singapore and then, from 2022, in the United Kingdom. With each passing year, new chapters are written in the story of Kawah Coffee.

From Kinunu to the world…with love. (youtube.com)

As we celebrate the journey of Kawah Coffee, we also recognize the importance of giving back to the community that has supported us every step of the way. That’s why Kawah Coffee is committed to empowering the women coffee farmers who make up 90% of our community. By providing them with jobs and opportunities for growth, we not only support their livelihoods but also foster a sense of empowerment and independence. Additionally, we understand the challenges faced by working mothers, which is why we support a local early development center that takes care of their young children while they are at work.

 

Furthermore, Kawah Coffee believes in ensuring the well-being of our community members. That’s why we provide yearly health insurance to those who cannot afford it, ensuring that they have access to the care they need. But our commitment doesn’t stop there. We are now partnering with international universities and schools to provide training and education to the farmers, enhancing their skills and professionalism. It’s our way of investing in the future of our community and giving back to those who have given us so much.

As we look to the future, we are reminded of the journey that brought us here. A journey marked by hardship and heartache, but also by resilience, determination, and the unbreakable bonds of family and community. And as we raise our cups to toast the next chapter in the story of Kawah Coffee, we do so with gratitude for the past, excitement for the present, and hope for the future.

 

From roots to roast, this is Kawah Coffee’s story. Join us as we continue to celebrate the legacy that has brought us to this moment and the promise of all that is yet to come. With your support, we will continue to create a greater impact.

Shop – Kawah Coffee (kawah-rwanda.com)

 

 

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