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The Sholi Cooperative is a new relationship for CCR, established by our Head of Coffee, Andrea Otte, from a previous job where she worked with producer organisations in East Africa. Abateraninkunga ba Sholi – or just ‘Sholi’ – is a small cooperative by African standards, with only 387 members, of which nearly half are women. Located halfway between the Rwandan capital of Kigali and Lake Kivu to the west, Sholi members grow coffee up to 2000 meters above sea level, cultivating traditional Bourbon varietals, and delivering their cherry to nearby collection points throughout the small district of Muhanga.
Sholi was formed in 2008 by a group of 30 women farmers as a way to invigorate their local economy. Since then, the cooperative has achieved Fair Trade, Rainforest Alliance, and Organic certifications, placed in the Rwandan Cup of Excellence, and established a collectively owned washing station where members’ coffee is processed.
This particular lot was grown by the Sholi Women’s Association, a group of female farmers who have organized to share resources, skills, and to advocate for their rights as farmers within their communities. Caravan paid an additional premium to support the Women’s Association, funds which are pooled over the course of the year. At the end of the harvest, the use of the funds is voted on by all the members, who have previously invested in such things as reforestation and early childhood education.
For a Chemex for two people, start with 32 grams of medium ground coffee, the texture of coarse table salt. Bloom for 30 seconds with 70 grams of filtered water, just off boil, allowing the coffee to de-gas before we continue pouring. At 30 seconds we begin a slow, circular pour to 500 grams at 2:30. Stir the slurry and allow to draw down, for a total brew time of approximately 3:15.