Project in Congo helps restore country as source of coffee

The Democratic Republic of the Congo has some of the most fertile land in the world and was once a prolific coffee producer. But market access disappeared through decades of conflict, halting a thriving coffee industry and leaving farmers with no infrastructure to produce and sell coffee. Now Starbucks and Falcon Coffees are working with farmers and local businesses to export quality coffee through generating opportunities to build a strong economic foundation.

DRC represents an exciting emerging market for specialty Arabica coffee production, yet coffee growing communities in DRC must surmount numerous challenges that threaten the region’s future capacity to produce consistent quantities of specialty coffee.

In a public private partnership funded by USAID and the Howard G. Buffet Foundation, Catholic Relief Services, Eastern Congo Initiative, and World Coffee Research have led a four-year effort to revitalize Congo’s specialty coffee production. The results have been impressive with more than 4,000 farmers exporting their own coffee for the very first time, which was available in 2015 as Starbucks’ first single-origin coffee from DRC.

The Starbucks Foundation has also partnered with Eastern Congo Initiative to support college scholarships for young women studying agriculture and has invested in local Congolese organizations creating jobs for disadvantaged young adults and former child soldiers in coffee growing and exporting communities.

Soon you will be able to buy Starbucks Reserve® Eastern D.R.Congo Lake Kivu as part of our small-lot, limited availability coffee assortment. It will be available in select stores and online starting in March.

This is only the second coffee we’ve featured from DRC. It represents the work of more than 4,000 coffee farmers, exemplifying strength and hope towards sustainment of their coffee community and a better future.

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