You may ask what brings the daughter of a coffee family from Rwanda to Ross on Wye. It turns out that Bernice has been studying Project Management at Middlesborough University, in Teesside. As I understand it, Bernice and Luke, met here, in the UK. The big plan is for Bernice and Luke to take over the management of the family mill when her parents Gaston and Mukantwaza Laetitia retire. The plan is to build on the strong foundations that her parents have put down, by adding value to both the local community and the coffee that they produce.
Apart from meeting some very lovely people, Rwamatamu is interesting to us. The scale of the mill is small and specialty focussed. In previous years they have milled coffee and sent it out labeled as other mills. This means, to me that they are at an exciting point in their story. There are so many areas and directions that this could go in.
One of the questions that I had to ask, was why is it such a big deal to have coffee produced by women. I know, that could sound misogynistic, however, if you don’t ask how will you ever really know? Due to the fact that harvesting coffee is predominantly 80% by women and it’s only a part of the year, like 4 months. Luke told me there are plans to make loans to some of the women so that they can buy land. If the land is planted with coffee, it will provide year-round work and the land can be repaid with the profits from the coffee over time. This didn’t make me feel bad for asking, more in awe of these 3-dimensional humble, generous, big-hearted thinkers. There are more geographic and cup quality reasons to buy this coffee, however, I got it. This is a casual conversation about how Rwamatamu plans to grow within its community.
Watch this space! we look forward to the next chapters of this story. If you have seen this and not the coffee, you can find it here.