If someone talks to you about pink coffee you would probably twist your nose at the idea of a coffee with a similar color. But today I want to talk about a really pink coffee.
I’m not crazy and we at Danesi certainly did not decide to put strange substances in our blends. Yet a pink coffee exists, even if pink is not the color of the drink, but the color of respect, attention, and ethics that the women of the IWCA – International Women’s Coffee Alliance – deepen for the creation of a coffee market more fair, healthy and resilient.
Quality is a smart and responsible choice
For a long time we at the Danesi have chosen to move towards a kind of selection of raw materials used in our blends that prefers mainly the qualitatively superior varieties. However, in a “fragile” sector like that of coffee not only in relation to the unpredictability of the seasonal trends but also in large part due to the volatility of prices and international geopolitical disturbances-it is a rather difficult task.
Most of the 25 million coffee growers are small, with a reduced ability to withstand the great challenges of our present and the near future, such as the effects of climate change taking place.
It is not a secret, in fact the coffee cultivations of small producers located in the most disparate, distant and impervious parts of the globe, are in some respects more attentive to the qualitative yield of the beans but that, from a production point of view, are also the most fragile ones. The motivations are varied and very often also include the social structure of the local communities involved in the production.
When a cultivation of coffee is pushed only in the direction of a more intensive production, a (harmful) mechanism is triggered, so that: the profit margins of the producers are reduced; the field’s workers leave the rural areas; the crops become more unstable due to the lack of biodiversity; the use of fertilizers and pesticides increases dramatically; we do not invest in the future of crops, such as the adoption of new agricultural practices that are more friendly to the environment and a more efficient use of agricultural inputs. In a similar context, choosing the right partner that can guarantee ‘something’ that goes beyond coffee is essential if you look to the future to try to improve it. For this reason, Danesi, through the IWCA, has decided to support the Rwandan cooperative COCAGI in the town of Gishoma.
A better coffee, a better community
Near the Kivu Lake, the COCAGI Cooperative began its valuable work in 2004 by aggregating around 250 coffee producers. Today there are over 1000 members of the consortium, of whom 267 are women and this is a very important fact.
As in many African rural societies, women are the center of social and productive life. Stimulating the community, relying on women’s potential and not excluding women from development processes is a truly responsible gesture.
The COCAGI, in fact, involves its producers – therefore also about 300 women – in making important decisions for the future of the cooperative, signing health insurance for members, manages a fund to pay the educational expenses for the younger members of the community, buy and shares amongst the members livestock and so on.
But above all, the cooperative runs a laboratory where it grows about 10,000 new seedlings every year, replaces the depleted crops and defends the territory and the soil against the risks of erosion (due to urbanization and/or climate change)
Why Danesi said yes
The initiative, promoted by the IWCA is one of the best actions of social responsibility that revolve around the world of coffee. For us, at Danesi the choice was motivated primarily by our desire to explore new cultivations and varieties of coffee to keep the level of our blends high. Secondly – but certainly not in importance – because we have every interest in these communities to preserve over time and guarantee the standards of their productions.
“Quality” is not just a word of the present, but it is above all a word of the future, because a production that wants to define itself by quality can only be so if it also has the basis of sustainability that allows its quality to be replicated year after year, season after season.
Our long history (112 years of activity) has enriched us with experiences in the world of coffee, so much so that we reach this awareness long before others: quality “is” responsibility and the two cannot be separated.
It is from this distilled – or perhaps it is the case to say “extract” – of experiences that Danesi – who not by chance has an all-female management – has chosen to support the COCAGI cooperative because the quality is above all a matter of responsibility.