PORTLAND, Maine – Coffee By Design (CBD) welcomed Isabelle Sinamenye, president of the Burundi chapter of the International Women’s Coffee Alliance, to Portland on Tuesday, April 14 at a celebration that brought together members of the local Burundi community and reconnected some that hadn’t seen each other for more than 20 years.
Sinamenye is praised for the work she does within her community, where she plays a key role in training, educating, and empowering coffee farmers. One of her greatest achievements has been implementing a bonus sharing program to ensure that farmers receive a portion of the profits when their coffee is sold. Farmers learn about certifications such as “organic” and “fair trade” and the program encourages equality between men and women in the coffee farming industry. Since its formation in 2011, the Burundi IWCA chapter has grown from 40 initial members to nearly 800 farmers. Members have used their bonuses to purchase bikes for transportation, pay off debts, and reinvest in crops to grow their profit in future years.
In 2014, Sinamenye’s chapter competed in the prestigious Cup of Excellence competition and placed #2 and #20 out of 27 top lots. Coffee By Design purchased almost an entire lot of coffee from the chapter, which is now currently available at all CBD locations and online – Burundi Kayanza Bourbon. The coffee is one of CBD’s community coffees, and $1 from each pound sold will be split between the IWCA Burundi chapter and Portland’s Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project.
Sinamenye was welcomed to Portland with a performance from local Burundian drumming group Batimbo Beats, who entertained audiences with an energetic half hour performance outside CBD’s Diamond Street location. The performance was followed by a press conference featuring Portland Mayor Michael Brennan, who presented a key to the city to Sinamenye. The audience also heard from CBD owner Mary Allen Lindemann; Phyllis Johnson, founder of BD Imports; Sue Roche from the Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project; and Alain Nahimana, president of the Burundi Community Association in Portland, who was a student of Sinamenye’s when she taught biology in Burundi.
The celebration exemplified CBD’s commitment to community – both in Maine and in the coffee farming communities beans are sourced from. For the company, where its beans come from is just as important as how they taste in the cup, and Sinamenye’s visit provided a unique opportunity to share with customers in Portland the origins of some of its finest beans.
About Coffee By Design:
Coffee By Design, a Maine owned and operated coffee company since 1994, is dedicated to changing the world, one cup of coffee at a time by providing customers with sustainably sourced, traceable coffee. Owners Mary Allen Lindemann and Alan Spear were named Maine SBA Small Business Person of the Year, 2014. Coffee By Design recently opened a roastery and coffee house at One Diamond St, Portland, bringing their total number of coffeehouses to five. In addition to serving some of the world’s finest coffee, Coffee By Design is committed to running a sustainable business dedicated to the arts, the environment, and the community. With over 450 select restaurant, cafes and gourmet stores and online retail sales, their coffee is enjoyed nationwide. For more information, go to www.coffeebydesign.com.