Seasonal Features

Katana Station Organic Natural






ELEVATION 1450 – 1750 masl

TASTE molasses, apple, black tea









This full-bodied natural is lower in acidity and has a good amount of complexity depending somewhat on the brewing method and recipe used. See our notes below for more information on this relatively unknown coffee origin. In my opinion, the DRC has incredible potential for quality, rivaling some of its better known East African neighbours.


Here are a few of the recipes we discovered in our brewing trials that gave great results:

French Press

Dose: 23g coffee ground coarse

Water: 425ml @ 200F

Brew time: 2 minutes 30 seconds

Tasting notes: Apple Cider, Caramel, Brown Sugar, Syrup, Medium Body

Clever Brewer

Dose: 22g coffee ground medium coarse

Water: 335nk @ 200F

Brew time: 2 minutes 30 seconds

Total draw down time: 3 minutes 30 seconds

Tasting Notes: Dark Plum, Fig, Whiskey, Brown Sugar,

Hario V60 Dripper

Dose: 15g coffee ground medium fine

Water: 260ml @ 200F

Brew time: 2 minutes 30 seconds

Pour 50ml onto the coffee bed. Wait 30 seconds for the coffee to bloom. Pour the remaining water in 2 separate pours, aiming for a total brew time of 2 minutes.

Tasting Notes: Apple, Caramel, Light Syrup


In our first round of sample roasts, we found a wide array of flavours:

sugarcane (rawness), clean, slightly green tasting.

short acidity and sweetness, slight bitter aftertaste, not clean

green mango, apple, black tea

You can see that not all roasts responded well, with our second profile falling flat.

When we move to the big roaster, we’re able to hit the profile, and build up on the body and thicken the sweetness, which results in the molasses description. This is a good target profile for a natural processed coffee, which has more body and lower acidity.


This is an organically certified, natural-processed, grade 3 lot from smallholder farmers in Kivu, a coffee region on the eastern edge of the Democratic Republic of Congo. This coffee was produced by Virunga Coffee Company, an Olam operation that operates seven washing stations in Kivu on the outskirts of the Virunga National Park. The region has excellent conditions for specialty arabica production with plentiful rainfall, high altitude, and highly fertile volcanic soils.

Country of Origin     Democratic Republic of Congo

Harvest Season     2020/21

Plant Species     Arabica

Processing         Natural/Dry Processed

Variety         Blue Mountain

Region         Kabare, South Kivu

Farm             Various smallholders

Growing Altitude     1450-1750m

Soil             Volcanic soil

Certifications     Organic certified

Bag Weight         60 KG BAG


Katana is located in the Katana village of Kabare Region. The area is blessed with abundant rainfall, and the excess water supply ensures ample irrigation for small-holder farmers. Situated at an altitude of 1,693 masl, the coffee in this region benefits from altitude, volcanic soils, and proximity to the equator, all contributing factors in its excellent quality. The station processes natural and honey coffee on shaded, raised beds.

VARIETY: Blue Mountain

GROWING ALTITUDE: 1,460 – 1,750 masl

PROCESS: Natural and Honey

HARVEST: March – June



Commercial production of green coffee did not begin in the Congo in any meaningful way until the end of the nineteenth century. Robusta has been known to grow wild throughout the region for so long that 100 years ago it was sometimes called “Congo coffee” regardless of where it was grown. In 1895, a well-known botanist, Professor Lament, toured the country and declared it so suitable for growing coffee that it could become a “second Brazil,” and Arabica plantings increased dramatically. By 1905, half a million coffee plants were under cultivation, and exports reached 41 tons.

Traditionally a Robusta producer, in recent years, Arabica from the highland areas has begun to attract attention from specialty coffee roasters. With development commitments from large roasters and quality development assistance from coffee traders like Schluter (now Olam Specialty Coffee Europe), DR Congo is now on the specialty coffee map. Washing stations have appeared in every growing region over the last five years, and the country has hosted cupping events.


Coffee, of both the arabica and robusta species, is a traditional export crop for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). However, production throughout the latter 20th century and early 21st century faced a significant and steady decline because of decades of civil war affecting both processing and export infrastructure, as well as presenting challenging security issues for all sectors of the supply chain due to the increasing presence of militias in the region. The Kivu Provinces, located in the far east of the country, are situated near the equator and the highlands of the volcanic Rwenzori mountain range, part of the Albertine Rift, Africa’s largest tectonic fault line. The terroir provides an ideal environment for specialty arabica cultivation, with plentiful sunshine and rainfall; high elevations; and rich, fertile volcanic soils. The 2 provinces are positioned north and south of Lake Kivu, one of Africa’s great lakes. Kivu drains into the Congo river and, in turn, feeds the Congo basin: the second largest rainforest in the world, a key carbon sink and one of the richest sources of biodiversity on earth. While the country and region still face challenges, specialty coffee production is bringing new investment, interest, and hope to the Kivu region. From the construction and rehabilitation of washing stations to farmer training and the development of nurseries, farmers are being provided with the tools they need to improve both yields and quality.


By buying this coffee, here are some of the programmes you are supporting:

Virunga Coffee Company’s vision:

Change lives in DRC through commerce in a mutually profitable way by being a major coffee actor in Kivu.

and aims to achieve this vision by improving the quality and yields for farmers in North and South Kivu, primarily through:

Developing and implementing field-based support activities

Introducing Good Agricultural Practices (GAP)

Investing in processing infrastructure

Organising organic production in close collaboration with over 3,800 farmers

● Bringing an innovative spirit to the development of new products

Our mission is:

To increase overall coffee production through the training of smallholder farmers and the provision of thousands of coffee plantlets

● Improve quality and farmer incomes through farmer training on all aspects from tree to green bean

Assure that the highest standards of traceability and ecology are reached through large scale organic certification.


Virunga Coffee has achieved international standards of organic certification and now leads an organic partnership with over 3,800 smallholder coffee farmers.

This has led to increased value for farmers, as well as ensuring that consistently high quality is achieved whilst respecting the environment through strict ecological practices.

In line with Olam International sustainability practices, since 2014, Virunga Coffee has also:

● Established large scale UTZ certification

● Employed over 19 field agronomists who have trained over 5,500 farmers

Produced over one million coffee saplings and over 80,000 other shade trees to revitalise the coffee industry and bring back a needed source of income for Congolese farmers in North and South Kivu.

Subsidised the provision of tools for women farmers, and integrated more women into the supply chain.

Improved working conditions by providing free lunches for hand pickers, access to ample natural light, and ergonomically designed stools for coffee sorting tables.

Digitally mapped and followed the impact of our actions with more than 5,000 farmers.


We have established 7 coffee washing stations in North and South Kivu.

In addition to producing high quality fully washed coffee with raised bed drying, we have diversified into speciality natural and honey processing, as well as organic cascara production.


Body 3.5 Acidity 4.5 

Flavour: citrus, caramel, black tea, and forest fruits. It’s juicy and sweet.


Body 4 Acidity 4

The flavour is very sweet and balanced, with notes of milk chocolate, orange, and red grape.


Body 4.5 Acidity 3

Flavour: nectarine, strawberry, chocolate… jammy and sweet with a creamy body.


In 2018, five new nurseries were set up in various harvesting areas (Kaniyhunga – Kirindera – Kisunga and Kahondo) in the region around Butembo.

The purpose of nursery breeding is to offer healthy seedlings to all planters who want to regenerate or expand their fields. Agronomists carefully selected the Bourbon variety in order to achieve both higher yields and quality in their crop. To date, Virunga has planted 1.2 million coffee trees and 80,000 timber trees.

We are also in the process of launching a new project to produce 1 million coffee trees, and 200,000 shade trees. We are planning to set up pruning teams, which we hope will prune 360,000 trees. Over a 5 year period, this project will have a significant impact and should lead to the production of over 3000 mt of green coffee, with an estimated $5 million in additional revenue for smallholder farmers.


Workers and communities are annually invited to health events targeting critical diseases like Ebola and HIV. Thousands of participants are educated and benefit from improved awareness. Workers and families are constantly engaged in sensitization campaigns targeting critical diseases.


Virunga has bought pruning equipment (handsaws, pruning shears), which is sold at half price to the planters or given out in some cases. The resale of this equipment at a subsidised price helps planters to maintain their fields and thus facilitates the maintenance of GAP. Local hand pulpers were purchased by Virunga Coffee for resale at half price during the harvest season. Farmers are provided with tools for pruning (saws, knives) and for drying their cherries. Additional support is offered with fertilisers and seedlings.

We are looking to expand our programme and collaborate with customers to:

Encourage soil protection measures.

Distribute mosquito nets in schools.

Stimulate child awareness of good nutrition and a balanced diet.

Facilitate intercropping for better revenue and food.

Provide households with local crop and nutrition training.

Provide school notebooks featuring educational content designed to teach on a wide range of topics, from improved nutrition and hygiene to valorising the roles of women, neighbours and family members.

Assist in the construction of classrooms and teacher housing.

Provide IT laboratories and training to assist in teaching basic IT skills to rural children.

Establish school gardens and create an interest in farming amongst the next generation.

Provide seedbags and instructions to create farming experience, fun, and extra income.

Improve financial inclusion and empower women’s groups by training on the formation of VSLAs (Village Savings and Loans Associations).

Offer daycare facilities and professional supervision for toddlers whose mothers come to handpick coffee.

● Restore buffer zones and river banks