Few places in the world have seen as much sorrow and misery as Eastern Congo over the last couple of decades. Even over the last couple of centuries. Yet, you would never guess this when you meet coffee farmer Monsieur Lwaboshi.
The farmer behind the best coffee in DR Congo.
Monsieur Lwaboshi was the winner of the Saveur De Kivu competition in 2019. His coffee scored an incredible 92.3 points! That's a score only reserved for the very very best coffees.
When you taste Lwabosi's coffee you will agree. His coffee definitely belongs in this league.
A dark past
It's not only the dark, volcanic soil. From the dawn of colonisation to decades of civil war, DR Congo could truly be described as the Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad's literary classic which always gets mentioned when Congolese history is written about. (And look, once again...)
Personally I can somewhat understand this. From my first visit to Congo in 1998, through numerous visits over the years to document the atrocities the population have endured (particularly victims of sexual violence), I have seen and heard enough horror filled stories to lose all hope in humanity.
Yet, there is no place in the world I love more than Congo. The heart of Africa. The heart of abundant beauty and riches and unspoiled wild nature. The heart of mankind.
And this time I discovered something else: Home to some of the best coffees in the world.
Monsieur Lwaboshi's coffee has quite literally colonial roots: The farm was started by a Belgian mining company. Since Lwaboshi took over, he has seen coffee prices dropping year after year. This has made in challenging to stay motivated and keep up production.
But thanks to winning the Saveur de Kivu competition, Monsieur Lwaboshi has gained new hope, and has now started to improve his farm and expand. Perhaps it's only natural when you have 22 children: You have to be an optimist!
The only challenge: despite having world class coffee, the buyers are not there.
No-one seems to be wiling to take the effort of buying the best Congolese coffee. At least not at the prices this coffee deserves.
For us, we can't wait to come back to the shores of Lake Kivu to buy more of Monsieur Lwaboshi's amazing coffee. Hopefully, next year we have grown and can buy a much larger quantity than we did this time!
The winning coffee from DR Congo
These are the results from the 2019 coffee competition Saveur de Kivu:
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