papaya, nectarine, cardamom
This complex, extraordinary coffee comes to us from Agasaro, a group of smallholder women producers working within one of Rwanda’s oldest cooperatives: COCAGI, or Coopérative des Caféicultureurs de Gishoma. Founded in 2004 in western Rwanda along the border with Congo, COCAGI has set the standard for the definition of “cooperative”—honing in on their community’s needs and actively working to improve individuals’ livelihoods. The group is keenly focused on economic development for women, and continues to expand upon opportunities for women farmers; for example, in addition to Agasaro, the cooperative just founded a second women’s group, named Susuruka. The impact of their work, from infrastructural improvements to farmer support and specialized training for its women producers, cannot be overstated.
With balanced, layered flavors, each sip offers an exceptional mix of fruity, herbal, and sweet notes, tracing an arc from soft pineapple and lemongrass to end on a prevailing hint of delightful butterscotch.
$1 of your purchase supports Community Voices Heard, the largest Black-led, member-driven, grassroots, principally women of color and low-income families organization building power to secure racial, social, and economic justice for all New Yorkers. CVH’s Follow Black Women project seeks to move from the mere acknowledgement of Black women as the wheels for political moments to the drivers for public policy and governance.
OriginWestern province, Rusizi District, Rwanda
ProducerAgasaro women, COCAGI Cooperative
A Note from Our Relationship Manager
From Amaris Gutierrez-Ray, Director of Roasting
This coffee was produced by an exceptional group of women who chose to call themselves “Agasaro,” which means “pearl” in Kinyarwanda. The people of Agasaro were one of the first women’s groups in coffee cooperatives in Rwanda—they were such strong community organizers, and they received such excellent premiums for their coffee, that their larger cooperative COCAGI chose to support the foundation of a second women’s group.
We became aware of this inspirational group through Ruth Ann Church, founder of Artisan Coffee Imports, who we have now been working with for three years. We choose to work with Artisan Coffee Imports because of their dedication to transparency, economic stability, and community growth. Ruth Ann’s connection to Rwanda began through an economic research project that led her to believe the coffee sector in Rwanda had the power to radically transform the local economy.
The team which Ruth Ann was part of compiled interviews and comprehensive data into published research which helped the government decide to raise the national floor price for coffee cherry for smallholder farmers the following year. In Rwanda, the national floor price is open to fluctuations every year, so the victory was short-lived on a national scale. But the experience gave Artisan Coffee Imports the foundation to commit to sustainable prices so coffee farmers can reach their potential as catalysts for economic, environmental, and social development.
For us at Joe, when it comes to these complex and far-reaching issues, we feel the responsibility to both educate and be educated ourselves. It’s important for us to rely on strong logistics partners to give us context for their work and insight into what sustainability looks like for all parties in a supply stream. In order for all of us to be strong and thrive, we rely on open communication so we can collectively learn how to be the best business partners we can be. The result keeps us accountable to each other and our shared future. Because of their commitment to transparency and active partnership, we choose to partner with Artisan Coffee Imports for many years to come.
Learn more. Download our Rwanda Agasaro 2021 Infosheet [PDF] >>