MUSENYI PROJECT, RWANDA
In 2016 some of our team were working in Rwanda looking for coffee and we realised that if we changed our business just a small amount then we would be able to make quite a sizeable difference to the lives of some of the coffee farmers and people resettled following the genocide.
For the last two years we have donated profits (not all of them) to the project and our team give their time to help the guys in Rwanda. The roastery team also spend time in the country helping with the coffee crop.
We began in 2016 with the construction of additional classrooms for the school in Musenyi which has now been completed and 200 children can now receive an education locally without having to travel long distances and stay away from home. Of course, we didn't just turn up in Rwanda and start building. We work together with a charity called New Beginnings, in particular two people - Jaqui Turner and Malcolm Clear, who are also based in Sussex. They began the program back in 2008. Jaqui and Malcolm oil the wheels, know the local area and people intimately, put pressure on the government and have enabled all of the work to proceed.
The school construction is part of a wider project which has included safe water, community centre, farm equipment and training. For 2017/18 we are raising money for a health post (for 900 patients a month) and again construction has begun.
Once the infrastructure projects are completed the village will reach self-sufficiency meaning they can run day to day without further contributions. That said, we continue with further construction and maintenance projects to bring benefits closer to the coffee growing areas and washing stations.
We have always bought locally and managed our energy and waste carefully, and have worked to improve our environmental impact over the years. In 2016 we joined the UK's Sustainable Restaurant Association to help focus our efforts to and we are now recognised as one of the UK's most sustainable businesses and hold the highest award from the SRA.
REDROASTER ORGANIC COFFEE
Our Roastery in Kemptown is one of the only certified organic coffee roastery's in the UK and the only one south of London. Large coffee companies base the price they pay for coffee on the C price, ie the price on the stock market which fluctuates daily. Fairtrade guarantees farmers a price irrespective of the quality of their produce, but it can lead to overproduction which further lowers the price, making things difficult for small farmers who are not part of the system and cannot afford to be.
We think that a fair price should be negotiated for a coffee which reflects its quality and the needs of the producer. High quality coffees are grown using varietals that taste better but yield less. Only fully ripe, defect-free beans are processed, improving quality and taste - lowering yields and raising prices for the farmers in reward for their effort.. Then we hand-roast small batches on our vintage diedrich roasters to make sure we serve the very best coffee possible.