Rwanda: Part I

Rwanda: Part I

I don’t remember the year,  but I remember hearing about, Hotel Rwanda, a movie starring Don Cheadle.  The movie was an account of the genocide that occurred in the the country of Rwanda between the Hutu and Tutsi people. I didn’t know why but I was struck by the movie after hearing about the subject matter.  I watched it unprepared for what happened next.  I started to cry and was visibly shaken halfway through it.  My body had a very strong emotional reaction that was uncharacteristic, and one that I didn’t understand. Years later, my journey in life and love of coffee would answer that burning question.  Coffee from Rwanda, often referred to as The Land of a Thousand Hills, would connect my mind, body, spirit, and palette.  It would make the language of soul and ancestry clear and able to be spoken to descendants and held by the land’s yield, coffee.

Grandma made coffee a staple in my mind.  Stories from my grandparents, both sets, made me curious about who I was, my lineage, my ancestry. By the time I got to college, I was fascinated with other cultures and their customs.  The more knowledge I obtained, the more I wanted to know about my own culture and customs. I wanted to know who I descended from, my ancestors.  Unable to shake the need to know, I engaged in the process of DNA testing. Weeks later, my mind would be blown.

I checked my mailbox religiously daily waiting for my results to arrive. I was anxious to see my results. They were going to provide a profile of who my ancestors likely were, and currently, what global population mirrored my DNA profile.  I was shocked to learn that Rwanda, The Land of a Thousand Hills, housed the people who most closely mirrored my DNA profile. I didn’t know how to feel, but it felt right. I felt a since of reconciliation,  a mental homecoming of sorts. For me, this explained so much of my life. Most importantly, it explained my love and appreciation for great coffee.

Yours in coffee,

 

The Mocha god

Welcome to Mocha Notes!

When I think about why coffee has a special place in my life, I transform into a young boy again, seven or eight years old, standing in front of my grandmother’s yellow “Frigidaire” with the door open searching for half and half.  As the cold air hit my face, and my ears danced with the sound of country music, I could hear her saying with a smile, “it’s in the door”.

Grandma Ella’s kitchen was like magic. Everyone from the neighborhood was drawn to its “special something”. The local mechanics, day laborers, and of course, other relatives knew she would be cooking breakfast early; they knew Folgers would be assisting, and they couldn’t resist strong black liquid love. It was something I never notice until we moved in with my grandparents after my parents separated. It was a difficult time; however, I remember the family rallying around us; I remember sitting at my grandmother’s feet listening to her stories. I remember feeling the love she showed and the smell of her coffee in the air.

Because of my grandmother, love and coffee are a pair for me. I never think of one without some hint of the other. When I’ve had a rough day, I think about which bourbon will assist me in the rest I need and the cup of coffee I’m going to have in the morning. Coffee is healing for me. It conjures up a kitchen were unconditional love abides and reminds me of my grandmothers hands, strong and worn, but gentle and loving, holding a cup of coffee. It reminds me of the enduring love I strive to build with my own family.

Mocha Notes is a reflection of my passion for coffee and a tribute to my Grandma Ella. My goal is to explore and highlight facts around the coffee industry, coffee regions, recommend great coffee, highlight coffee shops, interview wonderful interesting baristas, and keep you motivated and informed so that you, too, can experience love, in a tangible sense, dipped in coffee.

Yours in coffee,

 

The Mocha god

Brew Your Thing…..and more things!