Next week, Sustainable Harvest Rwanda and Bloomberg Philanthropies will bring together 100 rural women smallholder farmers with coffee buyers, NGOs, financiers, and more from around the world for the Let’s Talk Coffee Best of Rwanda event.
Taking place November 11-13 at the Serena Hotel in Kigali, Let’s Talk Coffee will provide the Rwandan community the opportunity to forge transparent business relationships, discuss pressing industry issues, and calibrate with the international specialty coffee industry and other global partners. Companies represented at the event will include Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Marriott, Equator Coffees & Teas, and New Seasons Market.
Program content at the event will feature:
— Sessions on promoting the unique story of Rwandan coffee, with panelists including storytelling and media experts, as well as representatives from North American roasting companies Stumptown Coffee, Equator Coffees and Teas, and Reunion Island Coffee
— Explorations of innovation in the coffee supply chain in Rwanda, from unique processing methods to new profit-sharing models and organizational structures
— Talks from members of the Rwandan government about the ongoing importance of the coffee sector to the country
— A Latte Art Competition featuring baristas from the Rwandan coffee community
In addition to being an industry conference, Let’s Talk Coffee Best of Rwanda will serve as a training event for the Rwandan farmers to further their educational development. The training workshops at the event will cover topics including coffee evaluation and grading; financial literacy; and the basics of coffee roasting. The event will also take attendees on field trips—taking place November 10 and 14—to institutions important to coffee production and processing, including farms, washing stations, and export centers.
The organization behind Let’s Talk Coffee Best of Rwanda is Sustainable Harvest Rwanda, a nonprofit entity supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies. Sustainable Harvest Rwanda launched in late 2013 with the goal of connecting women farmers to the international coffee market through training and market access. The program has since trained 4,000 women farmers, increasing their incomes and connecting the women to the international market through transparent supply chains.
The first Let’s Talk Coffee Rwanda, held in February 2014 in Kayonza, introduced the program and initiated the training process for the women. The upcoming Let’s Talk Coffee event will be the biggest one yet in Africa. The Let’s Talk Coffee event series was started by Sustainable Harvest Inc., the U.S.-based social enterprise partner of Sustainable Harvest Rwanda.
Let’s Talk Coffee Best of Rwanda is a one-of-a-kind, unforgettable conference that will showcase the country’s growing coffee industry, train a group of enterprising farmers, and gather the international specialty coffee community in one place. For more information on the event, visit letstalkcoffee.org/ltcrwanda.