Democratic Republic of Congo - June Stonecutter Coffee
The Stonecutter Series is an ode to the granite quarrying of Stonington and the Stonecutter memorial statue across the street from our Stonington Café. Available in limited amounts, changing monthly, and adorned with a beautiful gold & black sticker, these beans are selected for their "je ne sais quoi" - a unique coffee producing region of the world, inventive processing method and / or out of this world flavor. Take an adventure and grab a bag while supplies last for the month.
This Congo coffee is one we get every year, typically in the winter months, and it is a big player in our Blonde Pearl Espresso blend version #2. So why highlight a coffee we get annually you may wonder?
We anticipate these bright beans in November or December, but this year due to extensive delays in freight shipping and the pandemic, the availability of these beans has been pushed until now. Exporting challenges coupled with ongoing civil unrest in the Democratic Republic of Congo has led to the reality that we are just getting these beans. Honoring what we’ve all recently experienced, especially in the import/export and transport issues of goods from all over the world, we are highlighting these beautifully bright and effervescent beans. We also want to shed light on the devastation happening in the Congo right now and that miraculously we still have the privilege to roast these beautiful beans.
The origins of the current violence in the DRC are in the massive refugee crisis and spillover from the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. After Hutu génocidaires fled to eastern DRC and formed armed groups, opposing Tutsi and other opportunistic rebel groups arose. The Congolese government was unable to control and defeat the various armed groups, some of which directly threatened populations in neighboring countries, and war eventually broke out. From 1998-2003, government forces fought rebels in the Second Congo War, with an estimated death toll of over 3 million people. Despite a peace deal in 2002 and the formation of a transitional government in 2003, ongoing violence perpetrated by armed groups against civilians in the eastern region has continued; largely due to poor governance, weak institutions, and rampant corruption. In 2019, a new leader was voted in after 18 years and multiple delayed elections, marking this the first peaceful transfer of power in the Congo’s history. However, election results have since been questioned, citing technical issues and irregularities, marring the election and polling data indicates that a different person may have actually won. With the new change of power, there was also an inherited number of crises, including Ebola and COVID outbreaks and ongoing violence across the country. Despite the presence of more than 16,000 UN peacekeepers, the rebel groups continue to terrorize communities and control weakly governed areas. Millions of civilians have been forced to flee, estimates that there are currently 4.5 million internally displaced persons in the DRC, and more than 800,000 DRC refugees in other nations.
These beans come from the Muungano Cooperative. Muungano means “togetherness” in Swahili. In 2009, 350 founding members came together and founded the Muungano Coffee Cooperative in eastern DRC. Located on the slopes near the shores of Lake Kivu, this Coop today has over 4,300 farmers investing in coffee and their communities. It is a young cooperative that exports up to 5 containers per year of specialty coffees to Europe and the US. Muungano members live in different communities that are divided by the civil war. However, these dedicated coffee farmers make the choice to combine their strengths in order to build a great future for their communities. They work hard every day in order to produce a high quality coffee and please coffee lovers’ mornings everywhere in the world.
Tasting notes: Pink juicy grapefruit, dry champagne, and an effervescent finish.
Roast level: Light
Location: Mountains surrounding Lake Kivu in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Grows at an altitude of 4,790 - 6,560 feet above sea level.
Latitude: 2º South
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Certified Organic & Fair Trade
All bags come Whole Bean. For ground beans please select "Ground" and specify your brew method in the "Special Instructions" box in the lower left corner on the Cart page. Default grind is drip.