This week, Peace Coffee launched the newest coffee in its Alchemy Series: a bean from the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo that is notable for its story, for the long and, at times, fraught journey it has made to Minneapolis, and for its beautifully balanced cup. It also happens to the 10th Alchemy coffee, and so it seems like a good time to check in on the progress of the small batch series (you can read our earlier piece about the launch of the series here).
In the mid-1900s, specialty coffees were produced in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. But during a long period of violent conflict and its aftermath — the Second Congo War, during which 450,000 people died, most from the effects of malnutrition, poor sanitation, and disease — trade steadily declined and farmers were forced to either abandon their land or to smuggle coffee across Lake Kivu into Rwanda, where they could barter beans for food. Lake Kivu is 55 miles across, and many farmers drowned making the journey.
[Appeared in Heavy Table magazine. Photo credit: Katie Cannon]