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From the Source: Coffee Supporting Gender Equity in the Congo

Wonderstate goes to great lengths.

by Justin Sprecher | March 04, 2021

Every coffee has its own story to tell. And because coffee sourcing practices are so varied, those stories are as unique as their coffees. In our ongoing series, From the Source, our roasters go deeper to share their personal accounts and tell those stories.

This is our fifth year working with the Muungano Cooperative, a partnership we look forward to every year. Organic Project Muungano is a special coffee, not only because their coffee is always spectacular, but because Project Congo is a part of our continued collaboration with On The Ground, a non-profit working on community development projects in coffee growing regions.

Through our Project Congo initiative, we donate one dollar for every pound sold of this exceptional Congolese coffee to promote, support, and raise awareness of gender equality in the farming regions of the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

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What's in a name

In Swahili, Muungano means "togetherness," and it is a guiding principle for the farmers of the Muungano Coffee Cooperative. For many years, the people of Eastern Congo were divided by war, their region destabilized and their families torn apart.

In 2009, the 350 founding members of Muungano committed to weaving these communities back together and investing in their collective future. In the last decade, the cooperative has grown to over 4,300 member farmers, nearly half of them women. Empowered by their trade, these women are paving the way in a society plagued by gender inequality and violence.

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From the ground, up

Set against the backdrop of Lake Kivu, the region’s nutrient-rich, volcanic soil and high altitudes are ideal for growing top-grade specialty coffee. The cooperative has invested in coffee nurseries and micro-washing stations, and in 2013, they built a coffee cupping laboratory, greatly aiding in quality control.

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Certified organic in 2017, Muungano recognizes the intimate connection between their cultivation practices and well-being of their community and have always tended their farms naturally using homemade compost and mulch.

Coming together

This year's Project Congo is the first time in our history to blend two processing methods in one single origin release. We’re combining two-thirds washed and one-third natural process to add sweetness and dynamic red fruit qualities to this release, while still retaining a crispness and a tenacious acidity. In the lab we’re getting notes of tangerine, red currant, and spice with a bright aftertaste that shines through.

At Wonderstate we go to great lengths to source coffee for the collective good. It underpins our values as a company and as people. Partnerships with groups like the Muungano Cooperative and non-profits like On the Ground ensure that the coffees we source taste incredible and benefit the communities that produce them.

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Wonderstate Organic Project Congo Muungano ($19)