Congo Umoja Wetu
Congo Umoja Wetu
Congo is one of the most dangerous and difficult places from which to source coffee. It's known for kidnapping -- even of humanitarians, UN workers, and foreign diplomats -- armed robberies, citizens posing as police, absolute corruption and violence; as well as disease outbreaks and civil unrest.
Umoja Wetu means "my unity" and symbolizes how coffee could potentially be used to being peace to the country.
Congo (sharing a mountain range with Uganda) does have 11,000 coffee farmers and the potential for good coffee if someone can figure out how to get it out of the country, over to the port, and out of Afirca. We met a Congo citizen at a coffee convention last year who excitedly sampled us on some of the coffee he was working to get out of the country. He has managed to form a co-op of sorts, increase the quality, get the farmers both fair trade certified and organic certified, and he also is labeling it "Peace Certified" to indicate that he can vouch that the money is going to the farmers who are trying to make a living -- not to the terrorists or kidnappers.
This washed process coffee reminds me very much of an Ugandan coffee. It has those notes of dates and fig and cocoa, it is smooth -- very milky, almost like cashew milk. Maybe slight hints of peach in lighter roasts, but the lighter roasts have some astringency, and the dark roasts have bitterness, so we have been roasting it just 10 seconds or so into the second cracks. Basically a dark-medium roast.
It's extremely high quality for a Congo coffee. It's not as good as the price would suggest, but it is extremely difficult to get Congo coffee and not die in the process; and it is very difficult to do business with Congo and know that you are supporting the right people; and our Congo friend is forever grateful for the good he is able to do with the proceeds as this year's coffee crop sells to various roasters who are willing to pay the price to help out the cause. So if you want a really nice Congo bean, here it is.
This is the January 2020 arrival.