Women of Maraba

Tasting Notes





About this Coffee

Deliciousˏ floral and championing change

The 2023 International Women’s Day theme is “Embrace Equity” and this very special washed bourbon coffee from the Women of Maraba is the very embodiment of that. Best brewed as a filter, you can expect a deliciously floral cup that will keep you sipping with a smile on your face.

Our partnership with Maraba is our longest standing, of over 20 years. The Maraba Women’s Co-operative produce exceptional coffee and support one another with microfinance funds from coffee sales, creating financial autonomy for women and improving their families’ livelihoods.

This microlot showcases the significant steps we have made with Maraba since 2003 – the ever improving coffee quality represents the power of partnership and what can be achieved together.

The Maraba co-operative have a very important role in Union’s history, being the first co-operative that Union partnered with back in 2001. A USAID-funded development project was launched to improve the livelihoods of poor rural farmers through production of high-quality coffee following the Rwandan genocide in 1994. Union were the first commercial partners of this project, becoming the first coffee company in the world to source speciality coffee from Rwanda.

Rwanda is commonly nicknamed ‘The Land of a Thousand Hills’ – a small country with a hilly landscape allowing you to see for miles. The high altitudes make for the perfect locations to grow speciality coffee. Maraba coffee is grown up at 1,700 metres above sea level.

From approximately 300 initial members in 2001, the cooperative has expanded to over 1,500 members, of whom about 35 per cent are women. We have worked with the cooperative to fund processing facilities and to provide training in growing high quality coffee, allowing farmers to earn more for their crop. The premium we pay has contributed towards health insurance for cooperative members, improved housing with hygienic flooring, tile roofing and furniture, and economic stability in the local area through the creation of shops and local banks. Being able to eat three balanced meals a day has resulted in improved nutrition and health.

There has been a transformation in Maraba. What was one of the poorest regions of Rwanda, has now got growing economic stability, a bustling town and strong community spirit.