RKN | Rwanda Kinini Village Natural
Fruity Profile | Light roast
Tasting Notes: Floral, Berries, Caramel
IT ALL STARTS AT THE COFFEE FARM
Of the 48 smallholder members at Kinini Village cooperative, 85% are women farmers. The coop also runs its own washing station where the coffee fruit is delivered, then transformed into the dried seed that we roast. “Kinini” means, literally, ‘this big thing right here’. It is the name of the collaboration of cooperatives seeking to pool their efforts to improve their coffees.
The founding of the Kinini co-op is a story about dreaming a new future, and the determination to make those dreams reality. The project was founded by Rwandan Jacquie Turner and her business partner, Malcolm Clear, who wanted to find a way to have generational impact on communities without having to continually fundraise money for aid projects.
The project began because Jacquie and Malcolm wanted to start a school for children in Eastern Rwanda ten years ago. Driven by the desire to help the children of the genocide, they made that dream a reality. As they got to know that community, they realized that these children needed much more than just education, and consequently, they lobbied the local government and international donors to support the construction of a local pharmacy, micro-finance credit institution, and other services to support the community that supports these children. What these two have accomplished for that community would be more than enough for any of us to hang our hat on and rest on our laurels, but they were not satisfied. Jacquie wanted to do more to help her fellow Rwandans.
At this time they didn’t know anything about coffee, but they knew that the Rwandan government was supporting a transition towards specialty coffee. Malcolm and Jacquie wanted to see how far they could leverage that goodwill towards helping a community. They spent years soliciting advice from experts across the coffee industry and traveled all over Rwanda to look for a community that was interested in such a venture and was conducive for growing good coffee.
After countless hours walking around farms with agronomists and soil-scientists, they settled on an area just an hour north of Kigali. This spot is not only stunning for its views, but its high elevation that dwarfs even the well-known Lake Kivu region. There was only one issue: not a lot of coffee was being grown there.
So they dreamt up a solution. What if… they gave farmers coffee to grow? What if… they gave farmers technical support on how to grow good coffee? What if…they gave farmers a washing station to process it? What if…they gave farmers a dry mill to further process it? What if…they set up an export company in Rwanda to sell it, and an import company in the UK to own it even further? What if…10% of the profits went directly to development project investments (in education, health, etc.) What if…they helped organize these farmers so that they could manage themselves and eventually the business without them? What if… It was a lot of dreaming, that was met with a lot of doors being slammed in their face. Set-backs that would deter the most resilient of us did nothing to dissuade these two from their goal. After years of lobbying the local government, the Development Bank of Rwanda, farmers themselves, and countless other parties, their project was finally green-lit in 2014.
The structure of the project was unprecedented. Kinini Coffee signed a “lease” on parcels of land owned by various farmers throughout the area. This lease stipulated that Kinini would provide all these farmers with coffee trees, training, and organization. All the farmers had to do was agree to deliver these cherries to the Kinini Washing Station when they fruited in the future, for which they would be paid. For the most part, the chosen parcels sat on unused land that wasn’t being farmed yet.
They started distributing coffee seedlings to farmers, setting up trainings, building their washing station, and organizing farmers. Their learning curve in coffee was meteoric. Whenever they needed an answer to a coffee question, they would ask three specialists instead of one and triangulate their responses before making the most informed decision. A truly detailed-oriented team. The result? In 2017, three years after the trees had been planted, they had their first harvest of any substantive volume.
Choices were made not just for the sake of a certifying body, or a 3rd party auditor, but because they were in the best interest of the farmers and the coffee. An example of this was the gender equity trainings they were conducting. They did this not because they were asked to by a certifier, but because they thought it was vitally important to value women in the supply chain.
The result? The care taken at the farm (by farmers incentivized to do so), at the washing station, during cherry collection, and on the drying tables paid off. They had done it!
Jacquie (right) sorts fresh harvested coffee fruit with co-op members
Kinini washing station
Kinini Village Cooperative
1800 - 2200 meters
Crop to Cup
DID YOU KNOW
Coffee in Rwanda saw a meteoric rise after Paul Kagame was sworn in as 6th president of Rwanda in 2000. He promised to focus on coffee and leveraged international goodwill to start funding/subsidizing washing stations.
Price paid by Driftaway
Fair Trade price per pound
Coffee C-Market price per pound
Driftaway's World Coffee Research contribution per pound
This coffee travelled 7,027 miles to the Driftaway Coffee roastery in Queens.
Love the coffee? You can share your compliments & tasting observations with the farmers.
WHY DID WE SELECT THIS COFFEE?
The Kinini Co-op's dedication to quality and innovation makes for a bright and fruity coffee with tons of clarity - and a perfect choice for the Fruity profile!
AVERAGE CUPPING SCORE
SCAA Cupping Score
15 x 60 kg
Length of producer relationship
100% (in 2022)
Transparent coffees purchased
HOW DID WE ROAST THIS COFFEE?
This coffee is being roasted by Ian T. from February 26 to March 22 in Brooklyn. We use the Loring Kestrel roaster for this profile. We have strict guidelines for each of the coffee profiles, and this roast has to pass the development time ratio test as measured in real-time by the roasting software, Cropster. Once it does, it is approved for production.
We perform Quality Control via a process of coffee tasting called cupping on all of our production roasts once a week from home as per our Covid-19 shelter in place guidelines. Each cupping is conducted by our roasting staff Kieran D. and Ian T. using standard equipment, and is logged by our Q-certified cupper Ian T. All coffees are evaluated on a scoring scale of 0 to 3.
- 3.0 = exceptional roast - exceeds expectations
- 2.5 = on par with profile - matches expectations
- 2.0 = good roast, but 1 or 2 elements could be improved - needs improvement
- 1.5 or lower = failed - do not ship
PRODUCTION AND SHIPPING
Less than 24 hours after roasting, we bag your coffee in our production facility in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Our production team is led by Anthony and Torie, and supported by a rotating cast of local artists, musicians and independent professionals.
AT YOUR HOME
Brew this coffee with your favorite home brewer and enjoy the taste of incredible coffee! Here are a few tips on how to make the best coffee on each brewer.