A massively important aspect of A Film About Coffee is visiting origin countries where coffee is grown. We were delighted to tag along with Darrin Daniel, the head green buyer for Stumptown Coffee, as he took the long journey to Rwanda. It was five flights and almost two days before we reached Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, but the long travel was soon forgotten when we saw the lushness of this country. We met up with Matt Smith, owner of Rwanda Trading Company (RTC), and traveled to Butare. Butare is the beautuful region where Huye Mountain Coffee, one of the washing stations Darrin buys from, is located. We were hosted by David, owner of Huye Mountain Coffee, and he was beyond gracious. Not only did he let us film the entire process of picking the cherries, the subsequent extracting, washing, drying and bagging of the beans, but he also threw us a true Rwandan farewell with all 100 of his employees, the local farmers, traditional dancers, and some delicious goat kebabs.
It is hard to list all the highlights of this trip, especially with the amazing day we spent with gorillas, but we'd have to say that the most touching part of our visit was seeing how coffee roasters, like Stumptown, are influencing and celebrating the coffee community in Rwanda. By paying fair prices for their coffee, these farmers are encouraged to work hard and grow better products, which in turn, earns them more money and allows us to drink better coffee. Stumptown has left a lasting impression by spearheading a project called Bikes to Rwanda, whose mission is to provide cargo bicycles to co-operative coffee farmers in Rwanda, in order to improve quality of life in these communities by providing transportation for their coffee to the washing station.
We really would like to thank everyone for their hospitality and help in making this trip a sucess... that's YOU Matt Smith, David Rubanzangabo, Bosco, and Darrin Daniel!