The UK's third charity-aligned coffee of 2022 is our best yet. Introducing a team favourite — the DR Congo SOPACDI Women's Coffee Project.
This year has been a year of charity-aligned coffees. With our International Women's Day and Surfaid campaigns, we joined our NZ and AU teams in celebrating several beautiful coffees, each with their own cause.
This Coffee Galaxy is a chance for our team to collaborate with local artists for a coffee that's been a long-time UK team favourite. It’s our third year buying from SOPACDI and our second year buying from this women’s lot, and as always we're super impressed with the quality of these producers' work. £2 from every bag sold will be donated to the Panzi Foundation.
Who are the Panzi Foundation and why are we partnering with them?
The Panzi Foundation was founded over 20 years ago with the vision of supporting survivors of sexual abuse as a result of the conflict in DR Congo. Originally founded by Dr. Denis Mukwege in 1999, the Panzi medical facility has delivered care to over 85,000 women and children survivors of sexual violence.
Who are the other collaborators on this project?
To help this coffee shine, we wanted to connect with an artist who has both ties to London and Congolese culture, and we were lucky to find Joelle Avelino. Taking inspiration from the resilience of Congolese women, she created the central piece of art for this campaign.
"I wanted to create an image that celebrates these women, with elements of joy and movement feel in it. One thing about Congolese women; they always find something to celebrate, be joyful and reason to move and dance. Inspired by the print on Allpress packaging, the coffee fields are seen flowing around the women, with hints of coffee cherries. The illustrations are vibrant and bold."
Mae Ceramics, aka Lilly Maetzig, is a New Zealand ceramicist who’s been based in London since 2016. Using bee and flower stamps (honey and florals being two of the key tasting notes of the coffee), she’s created 70 limited-edition cups for sale alongside the coffee, and for serving this special brew in our café spaces.
Notes from Nuno, our Head of Coffee:
SOPACDI (Solidarité Paysanne pour la Promotion des Actions Café et Development Intégral) is an organisation comprising more than 5600 farmers, roughly twenty per cent of whom are women, located near Lake Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Each farmer has a very small area of farmland for coffee (fewer than two hectares on average), and tenders cherries to SOPACDI through the organisation's ten collection subgroups.
Joachim Munganga, who was a farmer himself, founded SOPACDI in 2003 by restoring a washing station in the area to provide service and market access to the growers in these extremely remote highlands.
Members of the cooperative represent several different ethnic groups, speaking Kirundi, Kinyarwanda and Kihavu. Many of the women members are widows due to the history of conflict in the region post-independence from Belgium in the 1960s, amongst other reasons.
This lot comprises coffee cherries delivered by more than 3500 female smallholder farmers, members of SOPACDI, who live in the Kalehe territory of DR Congo's South Kivu province. The average farm size of these women is 0.7 hectares, growing Bourbon and other varieties of coffee in loam soil.
The women deliver their coffee in cherry form to be processed at the co-op’s wet mill. It gets de-pulped and fermented for twelve hours in tanks, then washed and sorted in water channels before being placed underwater and fermented again for another twelve hours. It is then dried on raised beds under a shade cover of netting. The drying process takes 16–25 days on average. The result is a delicate brew with notes of florals, black tea and honey.