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Washington, DC 20037
United States

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Our Story

Bourbon Coffee first opened its doors in Kigali, Rwanda in 2007, and has expanded to eight different locations across Rwanda and the United States. We are an international brand of specialty coffee, and the first retail brand to originate from Africa. Our stores are built around the philosophy of producing coffee from “crop to cup” – while sharing our coffee with the world, we are also promoting sustainable practices, economic development, cultural unity, and helping to reshape the global image of Rwanda and its economic development and culture.

Today, Rwanda is the most densely populated African state, with over 10.1 million people living in an area roughly the size of Massachusetts. Of these, 90% work in farms across the country, with coffee representing 75% of the country’s export revenue. Despite great economic recovery and growth since the collapse after the genocide and surrounding political turmoil, 75% of the population earns less than $1.25 in wages per day. For these reasons, fair trade practices are vastly important to the farming population and to the country as a whole. Our beans from Rwanda come to us via direct trade, which means that we do not purchase our coffee through an exporter, but directly from Rwandan farmers and cooperatives. This ensures that we can pay farmers at least 25% more than the Fair Trade price for their crop.

Bourbon Coffee’s vision is to stand as a symbol of a new era in African economic development, one in which African nations rise to participate directly in the global marketplace. We achieve this through the realization of our core values:

Quality:

  • Buy coffee directly from farmers who are trained in growing methods of specialty coffee. 
  • Transport our own green coffee to ensure transparency, eliminate middlemen. Once in the US, we work closely with our head roaster to ensure consistency and quality of our roasted beans.
  • Equip our stores with top-of-the-line equipment for brewing and espresso extraction.
  • Educate and train our baristas to uphold high standards of excellence with every cup.

Direct Trade:

  • Engage at every link of the coffee chain from crop to cup and return higher prices to community farmers than conventional coffee traders.
  • Purchase coffee directly from Rwandan cooperatives and farmers.
  • Create a new approach to economic development in Africa – be an African company stepping up the value chain to participate directly in the global marketplace.

Sustainability

  • Partner with Rwandan groups and organizations to gain support and visibility and bring revenue back to Rwanda

Cultural Integrity & Community

  • Commitment to reconciliation and reaching across cultural boundaries with the message of cultural integrity and reconciliation.
  • Create links across all portions of the chain, using social media to create tangible connections between consumers and growers.
  • Educate staff, consumers, and communities about Rwanda, its coffees, and its farmers.
  • Maintain close ties with our roots in Rwanda and local Rwandan and African communities to foster communication, ideas, and networking across the globe.
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