At Crop to Cup we promise you a high detail of transparency, and here’s our latest effort to do just that.
We assume that since reading our previous post “Mapping a Coffee Region” you’ve been anxiously awaiting results. You have, right?
Well here are the results, and we’d like to pat ourselves on the back for what we think is one of the most detailed presentations of a coffee origin available to the coffee drinking public. Sure there are plenty of agronomists and coffee growing conglomerates out there who have heaps better geographical material, but have they ever made it publicly available online for you?
Here is an interactive map, rich with data and photos, of the coffee growing region that supplies our Burundi Bukeye coffee. The best way to view this map is to download the original .kmz file, then open the file with the Google Earth desktop program. If you don’t have Earth yet, the program is available for download here. The map can also be viewed in your web browser in Google Maps, at this link, although navigation in Maps will be more difficult and cluttered than in Earth.
If you’re viewing the map in Earth, you’ll be free to show/hide the various layers of data, and toggle 3D angles to see the hills and distances that farmers must walk to get your coffee to the washing station. Delivering coffee to the station must be done quickly (within 6 hours after harvest) so it doesn’t rot, but that means not only harvesting your coffee but also transporting it up to 6 miles, often by foot, all in one day.
Zoom in and check out the over 100 photos that we’ve inserted into the map. Meet the farming families and see where we held the coffee tasting event with farmers in April. Fly through the map to Bujumbura, where you can check out photos of the coffee tasting we held there, with local residents, diplomats and friends in the coffee industry.
Geographical transparency and a travel log are not our only goals here. Maps, distances, and images such as these are humbling. They show us that such a seemingly simple, everyday activity like drinking coffee has stories, livelihoods and surely hardship behind it. These 2,200 farmers, many of them quite impoverished, make unbelievable efforts to feed and educate their families through coffee income.
Fortunately, things are looking up. Bukeye farmers these days are earning a lot more per pound, and we’ve helped to put in place an innovative program for even better wages through paying more for relationships and increased quality, and helping farmers increase farm productivity. Just this year farmers organized themselves into the Buhorwa Coffee Farmers Cooperative, which receives a set percentage of the export price we pay and organizes truck and tractor transport for farmers to deliver their heavy sacks of coffee cherries across these long, hilly distances. Stay tuned – more on all that to follow in an upcoming financial transparency post.
We hope you enjoy the map, and feel free to contact us if you have any questions or ideas, or notice any errors.
P.S. Hey Google, your road (RN1) is wrong. We’ve drawn the correct route for ya.