DR Congo


On the vast Lake Kivu, marking the border between DR Congo and Rwanda, lies the “Island of Peace” Íle Idjwi. The resource-rich region has been the scene of decades-long conflicts. The civilian population suffers most from the ongoing violence. Idjwi Island is a refuge for the suffering people; here, the war in the hills around the lake seems distant. Refugees, former rebels, and victims of conflicts live on the island as neighbors, grateful for their island peace.

On both sides of the shores, rampant poverty prevails. People live off subsistence farming, selling excavated coltan soil, and small-scale coffee production. The farmers’ plots are very small; a few dozen coffee plants share space with cassava, bananas, and other crops. Noble Bourbon plants grow on volcanic soils, their cherries harvested by hand. The coffee cherries are processed in the cooperative’s micro-stations in some central communities. The goal of the CPNCK cooperative is to empower former fighters, women, and young people to improve the situation through coffee, both their own and that of the entire region.

The highly respected cooperative leader Gilbert Makele is tirelessly dedicated to the Idjwi community and visionary drives the development of the coffee cooperative. With the completion of the small hydroelectric power plant on the island through the EWB project, the cooperative can now carry out more cost-effective and economically viable coffee processing. This allows cooperative employees to finally hull their samples and then analyze, roast, and taste the coffee in their lab. During our visit in 2021, we met the only Q Grader in the DR Congo to date. Today, Moses works at a coffee cooperative in Kalehe on the Congolese side of Lake Kivu.

The parchment from SCPNCK travels from the island by boat to the Rwandan shore on the east side of the lake. Here, the parchment is unloaded, processed, and then brought through Tanzania to the Indian Ocean. Normally, the container ship would sail around the Horn of Africa into the Red Sea and pass through the Suez Canal to the Mediterranean, but now there is also war on the water. The delivery in 2023 still passed through the Suez Canal unharmed despite the fighting. However, the route for new deliveries is uncertain – most shipping companies now sail around the Cape of Good Hope across the Atlantic to Europe.

In collaboration with TSU, we are delighted to finally present the result of our partnership after 6 long years. This coffee has undergone a dangerous journey to impart hope for peace to its drinkers. Every cup drunk and paid for helps the residents of Idjwi to not give up this hope. Their delicious, exotic, organically certified specialty coffee is the result of their inspiring development.