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Coffee in Congo

 

A coffee growing in Congo like all other things in the country is faced with a lot of challenges for a lot of decades due to political and civil war turmoil. This has resulted to lack of infrastructure and social inequalities. Coffee farming has moved from the large plantations cad labor intensive common in colonial government to small scale farming. The small farms, the majority of coffee producers today in DRC Congo own farms of about 100 crops.

Flavor and taste profile of the Congolese coffee

Coffee beans from Congo usually have a sweet taste with heavy and full body. Since the beans are grown at high altitudes, they are high grown and dense meaning they can stand high temperatures when roasting and thus suitable for dark roasting. The flavor profile is similar to Burundi and Rwandan coffee beans and shares the same conditions for growth.

Common flavor for these beans is notes of citrus and dark fruits like the berries and plums with live, bright and light acidity. The aroma is pleasant and chocolaty like.

Production of coffee in Congo

Coffee firms are mostly found in the eastern region of the country and have for long sustained the industry. The region is characterized with good rainfall, high altitudes, good variety and deep rich and fertile soils which are just the perfect conditions for coffee growing.

Punitive coffee and other agriculture taxes on the exported goods Congolese coffee beans have found their way in the counties bordering it in this case Rwanda and Uganda. The coffee is packed and re sold to other countries without any evidence to have originated from the country. However recently, these have stopped.

The international community together with coffee specialty industry has given a revisit to coffee production in Congo. There has been significant investment in the processing coffee stations, washing stations. This has in turn helped the farmers produce high quality coffee together with farmer training on how to grow quality and quantity coffees.

Interesting things to know about Congo coffee

  • Coffee is grown at elevations of about 1400 to 2000m above the mean sea level which is characterized by deep and rich fertile volcanic soils.
  • The major coffee growing region in Congo is Kivu and is characterized by both ample rainfall and sunshine with moderate temperatures which are good conditions for coffee growing.
  • Congo mainly specializes in growing coffee Arabica, bourbon variety which is a very high end coffee bean and also specialty coffee.
  • The coffee beans in Congo are usually processed using the washing method and then dried out on sunshine. The coffees are also de pulped using the natural drying process.
  • Congolese coffee beans are characterized by a sweet flavor with notes of dark fruits such as plums, berries and raisins and citrus hints
  • Another thing to note about the Congolese coffees is that they have citric and bright acidity with full body. The aroma is chocolate like and sweet.

Coffee crops growing regions in Congo

Coffee is mainly grown in the three Kivu provinces namely, North Kivu, South Kivu and Maniema. This region is vast and bounders Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi. This region also borders mount Ruwenzori and Lake Tanganyika.

Green coffee from Congo

Production of coffee in kivu has rapidly grown in the recent years with the region producing about 960 tons of coffee annually though just a point of the global coffees. More washing machines have been bought to facilitate washing of the coffee cherries.

Getting quality and premium coffee from Congo is somehow not certain. The country is land rocked and depends on the Kenyan port to ship their coffees abroad via counties like Uganda. When coffee from Uganda may take just up to fourteen days to reach the Kenyan port for shipping in Mombasa, the Congolese coffee will take almost two months. Sometime the country may need to bribe the border officers to get their coffees through Uganda boundary and again through the Kenyan boundary. This makes it uncertain on the consistency of coffee exporting from the country.

Quality of Congolese Coffee Beans

Though they are not popular in global specialty market the beans are high end quality like other east Africa coffees. The processing of the beans is done carefully from the picking until they are ready for market. The method of harvesting is usually by hand picking which ensures only the good beans are picked. Floating sorting out is carried on to separate the beans with density. The denser the coffee beans, the good quality they are. Processing by washing machines ensures the beans are clean processed and the quality is preserved.

Processing of Congolese coffee beans

The major processing method of coffees in Congo is through machine washing to forcefully remove the pulp from the coffee beans. The coffee cherries are de-pulped after harvesting then fermented through drying for almost 12 hours. These beans are the dipped again in water for twelve to fourteen hours. After this they are floated in water to separate them with density prior drying on tables.

Roasting the Congo beans

Dark roasting- Congolese coffee beans are dense enough to stand dark roasting without losing it rich flavor but rather boosting it. Coffee made with Congo beans which are dark roasted is usually smooth with smoky and nutty properties together with hints of fruits and citrus. The acidity is bright coupled with full and heavy body flavor.

The beans can also be medium roasted though not very suitable for light roasting.

Brewing Congolese beans

You can either have an immersion or dripping method. French press if highly preferred as it does not contain a paper filter to remove the oily characters of the coffee. This method also well highlights the rich Congolese flavor as well as the aroma.

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Last Updated: 09/02/2020