The Republic of Cameroon is an African nation well known for both its geographic and ethnic diversity. Lying in the Northwest province of Cameroon, there is a mountainous region known as Boyo that is seeking to improve the standard of living for its many farmers. In the late 1990's a farmers' cooperative initiative was started with the goal of delivering back to the farmers a fair price for their coffee. The means to do so has been through the standardization of the cultivation and processing steps to produce a consistently high quality Arabica coffee. They market their coffee under the name – Boyo – of their region.
The farmers appear to be on the right track, producing a high quality, robust coffee. The flavorful characteristics of Boyo coffee are purported to result from the nutrient rich, dark volcanic soil in climatic conditions ideal for coffee growing. The onset of the first rains coincides with the blossoming of the coffee plants. And then just as the coffee berries begin to ripen, the dry season begins. The abundant sunshine stimulates the coffee berries to quickly attain their optimal sugar content. That is the secret to Boyo's distinctive flavor.
Boyo coffee undergoes thorough and all natural processing – from cultivation to harvesting to selection. The Boyo coffees of Cameroon are grown alongside other crops to spread out the individual trees, thereby minimizing the risk of infection among the coffees trees and avoiding the need for herbicides and pesticides. To supplement the soil, farmers mix the coffee berry pulp with the soil around each tree after the de-pulping process. The farmers and their families facilitate the hulling, polishing and grading of their coffee beans and then hand-pick the very best of their crop to bear the Boyo coffee label. Select beans of Cameroon Boyo are also selected, graded and marketed as a Cameroon Peaberry coffee. Cameron Boyo coffee is classified as organic.
The next time you are looking for an African coffee, I suggest you stray from the African standards – Kenyan AA, Tanzanian Peaberry, and Ethiopian – to try Cameroon Boyo coffee. Beyond enjoying a fine cup of coffee, you may just be helping out some very hard-working and intrepid farmers in Cameroon.