Let’s Talk Coffee® Rwanda 2017 Recap

Let’s Talk Coffee® Rwanda 2017 was the largest-ever Relationship Coffee event in Africa, gathering more than 400 attendees at the Kigali Marriott to discuss pressing issues in the coffee industry, strengthen business relationships, and participate in training workshops and cuppings.


In 2013, Bloomberg Philanthropies and Sustainable Harvest® partnered to create the Relationship Coffee Institute, a non-profit public benefit corporation committed to transforming the lives of rural, low-income women coffee farmers through training and market access. In 2017, the Relationship Coffee Institute and Bloomberg Philanthropies presented Let’s Talk Coffee® Rwanda, the largest buying event of the country’s 2017 harvest.

The 258 farmers at the event, 72% of whom were women, represented cooperatives comprised of more than 13,000 women farmers. As a result, the event offered an unprecedented opportunity to connect farmers to international markets and develop business relationships between buyers and producers.

For roasters, the event provided a unique opportunity to explore the diverse flavor profiles of Rwanda’s growing specialty coffee industry and meet hundreds of farmers face-to-face. The “Build Your Own Lot” program featured at the event gave buyers a chance to taste coffees from throughout Rwanda and take home their favorite selections from the cupping table.


The program at Let’s Talk Coffee® Rwanda 2017 highlighted the opportunities and challenges for specialty coffee in Rwanda, and equipped all attendees with a deeper understanding of how to move the country’s coffee industry forward. Experts from the global coffee industry, government, philanthropy, and other stakeholders shared their perspectives on a variety of topics including creating economic opportunities for women through coffee, Rwanda as a country for business, tackling climate change, improving coffee quality, understanding market segmentation, and creating impact through private-public-philanthropic partnerships.

Breakout workshops provided attendees with greater insights into specific areas of knowledge, such as storytelling and home roasting for producers, financing for cooperative leaders, and data management for project managers.


Let’s Talk Coffee Rwanda 2017 wrapped up with field trips to the Rwandan cooperatives Dukunde Kawa and Twongere Umusaruro. During these trips, farmers showcased their production processes and provided attendees with the opportunity to see the dedication that goes into producing high quality coffee in Rwanda. The farm visits also served as an important opportunity to strengthen relationships between growers and buyers at the farm level.

Event photos:

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