Over the past 15 years, Zimbabwe went through a bit of a drop both politically and economically. The publicity was a little rough and so was the reality.
During the land redistribution from 1999-2001, Zimbabwe's agriculture industries (the bread and butter of the country) tanked. Unskilled farmers gave a bash at farming but fumbled, and slowly eradicated the infrastructure. At one time, there were over 120 coffee estates in the country, now there are just four.
We took a magnifying glass and placed it over the coffee industry to see how we could help. Coffee used to be a huge import in the early 90's, yet only trace amounts of green coffee beans have been in the US since the early 2000s, with virtually no exports in the last 5 years and no speciality coffee whatsoever (according to the Mundi Index).
Exporting Zimbabwean Coffee
Zimbabwean specialty, green beans have been scarce to find even in Zimbabwe, much less on American soil. That is until last week when I brought Zim beans to the tables of our good friends at Thou Mayest Coffee Roasters in Kansas City as well as Topéca in Tulsa.
Beyond loving coffee and the connections it brings, as well as knowing that coffee is the second most traded commodity in the world (source), there's not too much I know about the varying tastes. When cupping it next to 15 other coffees from nations like Indonesia, Ethiopia, Burundi, Kenya, Columbia, and El Salvador, the Zimbabwe bean stands out with a unique flavor—moderate acidity, full-rich flavor, nice fruity body, with a heavenly aftertaste. It's a well-balanced cup of coffee (or so I'm told). My tastebuds seem to agree.
The tests, trials and gradings have ranked high so far, and it looks like a direct trade line for coffee will open up between farmers in the Bvumba Mountains (located in the Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe) and US distributors soon.
We hope to be able to initiate some of that while also maintaining a strong push toward Philanthropic Investment.
The farm we've been working with is called Crake Valley Farms. Nestled in the Bvumba Mountains 2,000 meters above sea level, this farm was sustaining and providing for over 90 families (including daycare, education, housing, clothing, jobs, opportunities, etc) at it's peak over a decade ago. We hope to continue to partner with farms and farmers like Crake Valley who have a heart to give back and encourage their workers and families forward to success.
Thanks for reading! We've all about wrapped up a nice tour of the USA. With trips to Chicago, Cincinnati, Tulsa, and Kansas City, we're full of inspiration, clarity with our startup ecosystem strategy, and new connections.
We were able to establish great relationships with a few more media houses in Tulsa and Kansas City to promote CMedia and it's rise to dominate the media industry in Zimbabwe. We also connected with a few incubators and startup communities in Chicago, Cincinatti, and Kansas City to expand our vision for the startup community in Harare. Once we finalize our action map, we'll update you fully.
As always, keep dreaming,
Tommy & Tim
(photo via dennis tang)
Posted on July 22, 2013
by Tim & Tommy filed under