Founded in 2000, The Dukunde Kawa Cooperative (Musasa) cultivates its high-quality coffee near a mountain gorilla habitat in central Rwanda. By producing high-end coffee for the international market and employing a majority female workforce (80% of their employees, actually), the cooperative ensures maximum benefits to local families.
In 2003, it built a washing station with funds provided by the Rwandan ministry of defense. In exchange for this support, the Dukunde Kawa cooperative donates 10 percent of its net profits annually to fund the construction of other washing stations throughout Rwanda.
Fair Trade certified since 2004, Dukunde Kawa secures a high standard of living for Rwandan farmers by ensuring access to an economically and environmentally sustainable coffee industry.
Dukunde Kawa’s president, Mr. Anasthase, says that improved quality and investment via their relationship with Fair Trade USA has been enormously beneficial in Musasa. All the children in this cooperative attend school, or are provided with financial credits to attend school, and cooperative members enjoy access to health care and insurance. Dukunde Kawa was awarded the prestigious SCAA Sustainability Award in 2012, at the SCAA Expo in Portland, for their commitment to shade-grown coffee and agriculturally responsible replanting efforts. The cooperative is currently undergoing a complete transition to organic agriculture, and will probably be fully certified organic by the end of the year.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the Rwanda Dukunde Kawa, from Black Oak Coffee Roasters in Ukiah, California. Feel free to pull up a chair.
region: Ruli, Gakenke, Rwanda
producer: smallholder farmers
association: Dukunde Kawa Cooperative
elevation: 1600 – 2000 meters above sea level
cultivars: Red Bourbon
process: fully washed, patio dried
The aroma of the Rwanda Dukunde Kawa is heavenly—decadent and aromatic with incredible scents of flowers, chocolate, blueberry, and mellow citrus.
Diving into the cup and, I have to say, despite the fact that it’s still piping hot immediately post-brew, it’s taking everything in me not to chug this coffee. One thing that’s helping me accomplish that is the coffee’s richness, the intensity of its flavors, and the fullness of its body. Beautiful notes of butterscotch, chocolate lava cake, and root beer coat the palate and introduce some soft fruit flavors that I’m guessing will explode in the second half of the cup.
I guessed right.
As the cup cools off, really juicy flavors of pomegranate, cherry, guava, red currant, blueberry, strawberries and cream, and mellow mandarin acidity gush all over the palate, finishing in a beautiful mix of honeysuckle and milk chocolate.
Full body; supple mouthfeel; citrus acidity; clean finish.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
Mm. Mm-mm-MM. MMM! Ooo-WEE!! MMMMMM!!! WHOA! MM! That about sums up this coffee, I think.
The Rwanda Dukunde Kawa, over the last few years, has consistently been one of my favorite coffees, but Black Oak Coffee Roasters’s take on it dazzled even me. This is a beautiful, elegant coffee that is so curvy, so supple, so voluptuous, and so vivid. It’s brimming with incredibly bright and intense flavors and each sip leaves you wanting more.
It’s just… a nearly perfect coffee. So good.
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Andrew is a husband, father, dog lover, craft beverage enthusiast, content creator, and niche market Internet celebrity. Formerly of A Table in the Corner of the Cafe and The Pulitzer Project and contributor to Barista Magazine and Mental Floss, he’s been writing on the Internet for years.