Whanganui baristas fundraising for Rwandan flood relief at Article Cafe

Whanganui baristas fundraising for Rwandan flood relief at Article Cafe

Two Whanganui coffee business owners have joined a worldwide coffee community initiative to help a district in Rwanda.

In May, the Nyabihu district of Rwanda, famous for the production of coffee, was hit by severe flooding and landslides. There have been 28 deaths recorded, along with significant damage to property.

To help raise money for flood relief, Paul Harris of The Village Snob and David Morgan of Origins Coffee will host a coffee tasting at Article Cafe this weekend, featuring six different blends from Rwanda.

Harris said the Nyabihu district was home to the Shyira and Vunga washing stations, whose products he had used for the last four years.

“The coffee itself tells a story with its flavour, and we’re trying to tell the story behind that coffee,” Harris said.

“It’s the worldwide coffee community helping out at a local level.

“To quantify the cost of the damage, the average household income in Rwanda is US$700 per annum, so it’s quite a big thing.”

Damage from the flood and slips was estimated at US$132,000.

Morgan said the Nyabihu region grew “absolutely amazing coffee”.

“The least we can do is show the support back at such a horrible time.”

Harris said places like Rwanda didn’t have the resources to deal with natural disasters.

“These people affected are friends of friends, and the guys who I get my coffee from, Maraho Trading Company, go to Rwanda every year and work in the washing stations.

“They know these people personally, so there is a connection.

“The Vunga station is my favourite producer, period.”

Harris and Morgan have already raised money for flood relief through coffee sales, and Morgan said it was easy to take the coffee-making process “for granted”.

“You could be sitting at a cafe drinking your coffee and not think about all the people who have been involved.

“You’ve got generations of families and livelihoods.

“This tasting is to let people know where this coffee comes from and this is what it goes through to get here.”

Harris said a lot of work went into producing Rwandan coffee.

“To put it into perspective, after the flotation and milling processes, it takes two ladies two days to hand grade a 70kg bag of coffee beans.

“Your $5 flat white is pretty cheap, really.

“Coffee used to be Rwanda’s biggest earner, but it recently dropped to second behind tourism.

“Of course with the effects of Covid, coffee is a very, very integral part of what Rwanda is doing.”

The Rwandan coffee tasting is at Article Cafe, 20 Drews Ave, from 10am to midday on Sunday, July 5. Entry is by donation and 100 per cent of the proceeds will go towards the Nyabihu district.


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