Introducing Grace Hightower & Coffee of Grace.
New York, NY, March, 2013 – Grace Hightower De Niro has been incredibly fortunate to see much of the world and meet its diverse peoples. But when she visited Rwanda last spring, she was moved in a particularly profound way: In less than 18 years after the 1994 genocide devastated the country, the Rwandans had rebuilt their lives, established a stable economy and become a peaceful nation making great strides in social issues. She was touched by their ability to forgive and move on, and saw this as an outstanding example of how people under extraordinary circumstances can triumph over adversity. It was her wake-up call, not only to help the Rwandans further their progress, but also to tell their story as an inspiration for others.
Relying on the same entrepreneurial spirit that has guided Rwanda, Grace set her sights on coffee, one of the country’s primary industries and largest exports. In Rwanda, coffee is a symbol of hope. It is what draws Rwandans together, and empowers them on their journey to build a better future for themselves, their families and their country. It is thus with great pride and optimism that Grace Hightower De Niro announces the launch of Grace Hightower & Coffees of RwandaTM, a truly extraordinary new collection of coffees that will surprise and delight even the most sophisticated of coffee consumers.
Coffee of Grace’s naturally grown specialty coffee demonstrates exceptional quality and taste. The flavor profiles highlight notes of floral, coco and citrus, with a hint of sweetness and a soft mouth feel. The collection of rich, smooth roasts includes Medium Light, Medium Dark, Espresso Roast, and a rotating small-lot Signature Series selected from producers who exemplify the finest cultivation practices of their region.
From coffee tree to roasting – Coffee of Grace beans are handled with utmost care every step of the way. As opposed to large plantation-style farms, families with an average of a half-acre of land grow and handpick sun-ripened coffee cherries, personally delivering their crop to a washing station for careful processing. At the washing stations, these cherries are sorted, de-pulped and laid out to dry in the sun. Coffee of Grace works directly with these washing stations to purchase their highest quality green beans with a premium paid for the extra care required, and then skillfully roasts them to highlight their extraordinary flavor characteristics.
“While in Rwanda, I met a woman with her own co-operative washing station. I learned of her work to inspire other Rwandan women by helping them form community co-operatives to share resources and ultimately improve their lives. This single woman has literally generated a movement and empowered others to open their minds to a more independent future,” explained Grace. “In sitting down and speaking with Rwandans I came to realize that it is far more rewarding to work your land with your hands than to accept handouts.”
Through a direct relationship with the preeminent washing stations in Rwanda,Coffee of Grace is able to source outstanding high-quality coffee that consistently commands a premium price at market. This premium market price translates into higher wages for farming families. In less than a year, Coffee of Grace has impacted thousands of Rwandans.
For Coffee of Grace, Grace has tapped top coffee consultants Tom Mitchell and Patty Johansen-Mitchell to help bring life to her vision and this new brand. They have assisted Grace by bringing together the best resources in the coffee industry and helping her select the best coffees, materials and partners in the U.S. and Rwanda. With over 30 years of combined experience in the industry, Tom and Patty through their company, Strategic Coffee Concepts, have dedicated their lives to expanding and promoting the specialty coffee industry on a global basis.
Grace Hightower & Coffees of Rwanda has just hit shelves in Whole Foods Markets for $14.99. On occasion, Grace can be seen attending tastings at Whole Foods, as she likes to see first-hand coffee lovers’ reactions to their tasting experience.
To learn more about Grace Hightower & Coffees of Rwanda, please visit www.coffeeofgrace.com or join us on Facebook www.facebook.com/CoffeeOfGrace.
Grace Hightower De Niro is an American mother, philanthropist, actress and singer. As a board member of the New York Women’s Foundation and a member of the International Women’s Coffee Alliance, Grace strives to empower women and their communities to achieve meaningful and sustainable lives through their work. Grace’s love of coffee and dedication to empowering women worldwide led her to launch “Grace Hightower & Coffees of Rwanda,” with the mission of enhancing the lives of the Rwandan people by providing opportunities to market their unique products to the world. Grace also serves as a board member of the New York Fund for Public Schools, as well as a member of Ronald Perlman’s Women’s Heart Health Advisory Council. She has been honored for her work and dedication by the New York Women’s Foundation and the American Cancer Society of New York City. Grace resides in New York City with her husband, actor Robert De Niro, and their two children.
About Rwanda & Coffee:
Rwanda is the most densely populated African country with a population of 11 million, 90% of whom work in some form of rural agriculture. Although it is a landlocked country, Rwanda’s high altitude, volcanic soils and rainfall make it an ideal place to grow coffee. After oil, coffee is the most traded and valuable commodity in the world, and is Rwanda’s largest export. The Rwandan coffee industry has over 400,000 farming families directly involved in growing, harvesting and processing Rwanda’s coffee crop. It is an integral part of the country’s economic and social fabric and provides a large share of income available to the population.