Allison Aubrey writes for NPR's The Salt blog, who today published this feature on four East African coffee producers visiting DC as part of a trip funded by the International Women's Coffee Alliance and the International Trade Centre's Women in Coffee Project. The four women are representatives of Burundi, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Kenya, and their stories are fascinating.
Mbula Musau of Kenya holds one of the most coveted titles in the coffee industry: certified Q-grader. This means buyers know that she knows her stuff when it comes to grading the quality of a coffee bean. And she's also served as a sensory judge at the World Barista Championship competition.
She now works on the trade and marketing side of the industry, but as a “sister of coffee,” as she calls herself, she wants to help empower women involved at all levels of coffee production in her country. “The majority of labor is women,” Musua explains. By connecting them with women around the world, “it creates hope.” And, she hopes, opportunities, too.