The Journey of Rwamatamu | Our Second year in Partnership
In the world of green coffee, our ongoing journey with Rwamatamu has evolved into a tale of growth and impact. As we celebrate the impending arrival of our second year working together and landing of their fresh harvest, we're thrilled to share the remarkable milestones and changes that have defined this extraordinary relationship so far.
The Genesis: A Chance Encounter with Bernice
Our partnership with Rwamatamu kicked off in a wonderfully unplanned way, thanks to Dave, now our Head of Coffee, who casually tossed the introduction our way back in 2021. Bernice, then studying for her degree in the UK, priming herself to dive back into her family's coffee business was looking to forge connections that would later benefit her journey in taking over the family washing station. What hit us right off the bat was her unfiltered enthusiasm for her family's coffee – it was contagious, to say the least.
As we delved deeper into Bernice's world, it wasn't just coffee that fueled our connection. Shared values and community impact surfaced in our conversations. That chance encounter bloomed into something bigger – a partnership with Rwamatamu, a family dedicated to their coffee and their community.
This collaboration is no run of the mill supply chain arrangement. At Omwani we're not just about transactions; we're focused on the people behind the coffee. It's about working together, sharing wisdom, and growing together. Because in our world, what matters most are the relationships we build. We're invested in the relationships – the kind where values align, and everyone's benefits.
Bridge-Building: Early Days with Rwamatamu
Through initial calls, where Berenice acted as translator; we got a feel for what is important for the current owners Leaticia and Gaston (Mamma and Pappa B) and we had an opportunity to share what is important for us. The excitement shared during those conversations set the stage for what was to come—a partnership grounded in real understanding, shared values, and a shared mission to make a difference in the community where they operate.
In 2022, our partnership with Rwamatamu was formalised. It was the year when the groundwork for our joint ventures started gaining structure and the arrival of their first container in the UK.
Embracing Change: A Year of Transformations
The last year ushered in significant transformations as Luke and Bernice dived headfirst into coffee production alongside managing the birth of their daughter. Their dedication and hunger for experimentation fueled a period of remarkable change.
They embraced the unknown, tackling quality challenges and seizing the opportunity to revolutionise their processing methods. The coffee community's support was pivotal, creating a collaborative backdrop for their transformative journey. It wasn't just a year of new practices; it was a collective journey of growth and discovery.
Global Collaboration: Sharing Knowledge Across Borders
Rwamatamu's pursuit of excellence reached new heights through collaborative endeavors, we did our utmost to link them with industry experts. Granting opportunities to share knowledge which turned into a driving force, transcending borders and fostering connections between nations.
A notable highlight during this period was the visitation of several industry professionals. Our Head of Coffee, Dave Burton, dedicated several weeks with the Rwamatamu team, lending support and expertise. His focus was to drive the experimentation of what is possible with yeast - something you can read more about here. This was a fantastic opportunity for us to get hands-on with sharing our knowledge back to producers and farmers.
Further enriching this collaborative phase, Ludwika from Steampunk also graced Rwamatamu with a visit. Her contributions, coupled with daily cupping sessions, provided valuable insights from a roaster's perspective.
The collaboration expanded further. In a unique exchange, Rwamatamu and our existing partners Migoti embarked on a knowledge-sharing journey. Migoti visited Rwamatamu, reciprocated by the Rwamatamu team. This cross-border exchange, despite historical differences, emphasized coffee's ability to bridge gaps. It's a testament to the impact coffee can have on breaking down barriers. You can read more about this experience and what this exchange meant for both parties here.
Investments in Quality: The Birth of a Cupping Lab
Thanks to collaborative efforts, Rwamatamu now boasts a brand-new cupping lab—a tangible testament to their dedication to quality control. This lab stands as a symbol of progress, enabling the team to perform cuppings and quality control checks throughout the season.. The impact of this facility goes beyond improved coffee; it opens doors to educate the local and global coffee community through on-site cupping sessions.
The hope is that this lab is a key to unlocking the next level of coffee quality, translating into better prices for the farmers and ultimately enriching the entire community.
Bold Aspirations: The Mbare Washing Station
Looking ahead to 2024, Rwamatamu is gearing up for ambitious growth with the introduction of the Mbare washing station. The goal? A tenfold increase in output, showcasing their unyielding commitment to excellence. This expansion isn't a mere numbers game; it's deeply rooted in maintaining the high-quality standard Rwamatamu is synonymous with.
The excitement for the future is palpable, especially in their plans to revolutionise moisture management and storage methods. These upgrades echo a commitment to continuous improvement.
Youth Project: Cultivating Change for the Next Generation
In tandem with their expansion efforts, Rwamatamu is spearheading a Youth Cooperative Project, a venture that extends beyond coffee production to inspire the next generation of farmers. This initiative isn't just about sowing seeds in the soil; it's about cultivating positive change in the community.
Our joint initiative with Rwamatamu takes shape through this Youth Project, offering roasters a unique opportunity to contribute to tangible impact without the logistical complexities of fund transfers. The project aims to connect roasters directly with the community where Rwamatamu's coffee is produced, bridging the gap between those who enjoy the final product and those who grow up with coffee.
Connecting Roasters with Impact: Our Shared Vision
As we eagerly await the arrival of our next container of coffee from Rwamatamu, it serves as a testament to the profound impact coffee can have on people and communities. Beyond producing exceptional coffees, Rwamatamu is driving real change in one of the most remote and developing regions globally — something we are proud to be able to support them in.
If you're as excited as we are about Rwamatamu's journey, don't miss the chance to experience their coffees first-hand. Request fresh samples here and explore how you can get involved with the youth initiative on this page.