“Walking down the hill to the washing station of TUK was an emotional experience but one I will never forget. I was overwhelmed by the whole community, singing and dancing in celebration of the cupping lab, we at St Remio had funded. Rwanda is such a special place for me. This is where it all began and to see what we have been able to achieve inspires me to do more. ” Trent Knox, Founder St Remio.
“The impact of this project was as profound on the community of TUK as it was on us personally. It isn’t just a cupping lab. It is a symbol they were fully equipped and empowered for business and for us, it was a confirmation that all the hard work that comes from running a business is worth it when you can celebrate the success together and share it with others. The greatest impact in life comes from giving back and collectively, we have the power to make a real difference in the lives of so many communities.” Julia Tink, Director, St Remio.
It was the moment we have been counting down for the whole year, the official opening of the Cupping Lab for the female Co-operative of TUK and on the 21st June, the fields came alive in celebration of this momentous milestone for the community.
The Cupping lab signifies so many things; the first big project St Remio has been able to fund (thanks to the ongoing support and belief of our epic customers! Fist pump!) as well as the finishing piece in the coffee chain for the female farmers of TUK.
For many of the growers, while they understood how to cultivate an excellent coffee cherry, they did not know or understand how their product was being consumed which meant they also didn’t fully understand the value of their product. The Cupping Lab has changed all that and was the last piece they needed to be fully sustainable and empowered in business.
The Cupping Lab enables them to roast their green beans in small batches so they can cup it. With the support of Bosco, Rwanda’s only Q Grader, he is teaching the women to understand the flavour profile of their beans. By doing this process, they understand the quality of their product. If there are flavours that are undesirable (such as potato), it provides them with knowledge so they can alter their farming methods to grow a more desirable cherry ultimately earning them more income. It also empowers them in business and allows them to understand the full value of their product so they can negotiate a fair price when dealing direct with coffee roasters or traders.
Over 150 women and their families all attended the celebration which will filled with song and dance alongside a cupping demonstration by Agnes and her team to showcase their cupping skills and educate the guests in attendance. The facility will also allow the local community to sell other products such as hand woven baskets, allowing them to sell to tourists who will visit the plantation to learn about coffee.
So to our customers, we want to say again THANK YOU! We are a small brand but collectively, we are having a BIG impact. And this is just the beginning. Our aim in the future is to be in a position to fund multiple projects at once in different countries all over the world. A simple choice to drink St Remio, is having a positive impact on people’s lives. Chances are you might never meet the community your choice is supporting, but you are having a lasting impact and it is a powerful one.