The Abateraninkunga ba Sholi cooperative (meaning ‘mutual assistance’) was originally established in 2008 by 30 women and received official recognition in 2013. In 2014 they received funding to build their own washing station, and in 2015 received their Fair Trade certification. Today the cooperative is made up of 400 farms, 3 washing stations, and 451 members, 196 of which are women.
In 2016 the cooperative received a grant to build a community center and a health center to serve its members and other local residents. The nearest hospital is over 45 minutes away on poor roads, so services for things such as malaria, parasites, pregnancy check-ups, and basic first aid that the health center can provide are invaluable. The community center also provides education on nutrition, cooking, and gardening in order to combat childhood malnutrition.
In November 2019, members of our team traveled to Sholi with our partners at Atlas Coffee Importers. They cupped their coffees and toured one of the processing stations, a farm, warehouse, and the health and community centers and formed lasting relationships along the way. We’re excited and proud to offer this exceptional coffee that has done so much for the community from where it hails. As one of our newest relationship coffees, we are taken with its dark fruit characteristics mixed in with the classic base of spices and deep sweetness that the region is known for. Innovative thinking, attention to detail, and great growing conditions point to a very bright future, indeed.
We’re thrilled to present these two similar (but definitely different) Fair Trade specialty coffees, side-by-side. Both of these coffees are the same varietal, from the same farming cooperative, harvested at the same time, but they’ve been processed in very different ways, to give each its own wonderfully distinct flavors and attributes.
The Rwanda Sholi Washed has a buttery mouthfeel, with croissant and figgy pastry characteristics, paired with a base of spices and chocolate sweetness that the region is known for. The Rwanda Sholi Natural, by contrast, was processed in a naturally drying style, which results in a fuller, more syrupy body than the Washed.
This Natural has comforting raisin cereal flavors, topped with the airy citrus of lemongrass tea and delightfully tart and sweet berry notes. We hope that by tasting these two cups together, coffee lovers can gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for coffee processing, and also for the incredible coffees coming out of Rwanda!