Dutch firms in new drive to showcase Rwanda's coffee

The Embassy of Rwanda in the Netherlands and two Dutch companies, This Side Up and White Label Coffee, will today launch a new approach to promote Rwandan coffee during an international coffee festival there.

The Embassy of Rwanda in the Netherlands and two Dutch companies, This Side Up and White Label Coffee, will today launch a new approach to promote Rwandan coffee during an international coffee festival there.

The idea follows what the embassy says was “big success” of last year’s collaboration at the Amsterdam Coffee Festival.

According to Robert Kayinamura, the first counsellor, the embassy, in collaboration with National Agricultural Export Development Board (NAEB) and This Side Up, invited Rwandan producers to bring the country’s best coffees with them and tell the full story behind their produce, find buyers and understand the market in the Netherlands.

The new approach, Kayinamura said, is hinged on the fact that, last year, no stakeholders were brought from Rwanda but this time, local producers, including Juru, MISOZI, 3 African Sisters, Rwanda Mountain Coffee and Falcon Specialty Coffees, will be represented during the three-day coffee festival.

“We decided to create a space where Rwandan coffee producers can get inspired by seeing up close how their coffees taste and look as a finished specialty product,” Kayinamura said.

Rwanda coffee is imported by several Dutch companies, including This Side Up, which facilitates coffee roasters in Europe to trade transparently with coffee farmers in Rwanda.

A statement from the embassy indicates that, in the past 10 years, Rwanda transformed from an average C-grade market coffee producing country into one gaining significant traction in the global market for specialty coffee.

Rwanda is increasingly becoming known as an up-and-coming destination for specialty coffee, with its mellow beans making their way into the world’s leading specialty roasters and coffee houses.

According to Lennart Clerkx, owner of This Side Up, most coffee producers do not know where their coffee ends up when it leaves the country.

“In most cases, they are dependent on traders to promote their coffee, while they could make a much better product if they would have the opportunity to communicate with roasters and baristas directly,” Clerkx is quoted as saying in the statement.

He said This Side Up, a small specialty coffee sourcing company that connects smallholder growers and roasters in a short and fair value chain, ensures that farmers get a fair price and advice in what it takes to produce better coffee.

White Label Coffee, specialty coffee roasters from Amsterdam, will roast Rwanda coffee to their high standards and brew them at the stand for everyone to taste throughout the day.

The exhibition will see two daily coffee tasting (cupping).

White Label Coffee owners were invited by This Side Up to Rwanda in 2015 to see how one of their favourite coffees is produced.

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