We started our Seed Fund when we opened our doors in 2013 with a mission to support causes that benefit the environment, education, and entrepreneurship at home and abroad. The main goal is to empower agents of change, and to give organizations, communities, and individuals the support they need to help further their goals.
For our first coffee partnership, in late 2013 we offered a lot of coffee from the IWCA's Burundi Chapter. The coffee had potential, but it was far from our best coffee. We pledged all of the proceeds from the sale of the coffee to the Chapter to aid their quality control program, pursue organic certifications for the producers, and to support day-to-day operations.
At SCAA last year we presented IWCA Burundi Chapter President Isabelle Sinamenye with $1200 we had raised through sales of the IWCA coffee at our Berkeley location. The funds were used to import roasting equipment to help chapter members to roast their coffee in order to evaluate quality, and also so they can roast coffee for domestic sale. It's a reality of coffee farming that most farmers don't even know what their own coffee tastes like - making it difficult to improve cultivation techniques, and impossible for the farmer to know if they are getting a fair price. By helping the women import coffee roasters they now have the opportunity to sample their coffee and set better prices for higher quality lots.
Due to the hard work of Chapter members this year, multiple lots from IWCA chapter members advanced in the Cup Of Excellence Competition. The Cup Of Excellence is a competition that seeks to identify the best coffees within any particular country. Coffees are graded five times by a professional panel, and only coffees that are truly exceptional advance - this year IWCA placed three producers in the top 25, with the best coffee earning 2nd place!
This year's lot is remarkable, with a floral character, notes of raspberry jam, and a tart finish. And we're proud to annouce that for every pound of the IWCA Burundi Coffee we sell from this year's harvest, we will donate $5 directly to the IWCA Burundi chapter. This gift will help the producers further improve coffee quality and consistency.
Learn how to get involved and become a sponsor of the IWCA here: http://www.womenincoffee.org/get-involved/