The West Cameroon Coffee Project is a grassroots response to a community of coffee farmers with the simple hope of a just return. The volcanic highlands of Western Cameroon provide the perfect setting to grow extraordinary coffee and farmers in the region have been doing so for generations. Unfortunately, a flooded world market and no access to specialty markets mean sub-par purchase offers, leaving both farmers and communities unable to escape poverty.
In 2008, one organized group of coffee farmers began work with Breaking Ground to end that cycle. By making the few operational improvements necessary for a consistently high quality coffee that will attract buyers in the U.S. specialty coffee market – where higher quality means higher prices – this group worked to create a sustainable source of income to energize the community, boost the rural economy, and fight the poverty that plagues them.
In a single year, the West Cameroon Coffee Project produced high quality beans, exposed them to western markets and increased their value for the farmers by 30%. Here's what Mocha Joe's, a roaster in Brattleboro, Vermont, had to say:
The Bataufam was a very different coffee! It had a nice acidity and a nice light citrus flavor about it that was really evocative of an African coffee. It reminded me a lot of an Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, and was much different in this way than any of the samples we've cupped so far. I was very impressed with the work that you've done on this coffee!
And along the way we provided them the knowledge and technique to sustain that quality and consistency and to eliminate chemical products and fertilizers from their operations.
We also encouraged an American specialty coffee roaster interested in Cameroon to set up shop and start its own project next year!
We look forward to expanding this program to additional communities to support more amazing mountain farmers of Cameroon's West Region and to share their unique, delicious coffee with the world.
Download a detailed description (PDF format) of the West Cameroon Coffee Project.