Burundi has long been overlooked in comparison to its neighboring East African specialty coffee producing powerhouses. However, Burundi season, for us, is one of the highlights of the annual coffee calendar. The country’s coffee is produced almost entirely by smallholder farmers, and much of this small-scale production is of exceptional quality. With its super sweet, clean and often floral coffees, Burundi, every year, is increasingly is putting itself on the specialty coffee map.
The Kibingo washing station is in the commune of Kayanza in northern Burundi. The station itself sits 1,893 meters above sea level. The altitude of the farms in the neighboring hills that supply the washing station varies from 1,700 to 1,900 meters above sea level.
The washing station is equipped with 10 fermentation tanks, 2 soaking tanks and a drying field with 165 drying tables and 4 pre-drying tables. Kibingo can process 750,000 kg of cherry per day.
At the washing station, farmers can obtain organic fertilizer from composted coffee pulp. To promote farm renovation, producers can get low-cost, subsidized coffee seedlings at the washing station. Each station has its own nursery for this purpose.
The washing station participates in a number of farmer outreach and support projects including a livestock rearing project and a range of Farmer Hub projects centered on strengthening cooperatives and improving yields.
Despite the ubiquity of coffee growing in Burundi, each smallholder producers a relatively small harvest. The average smallholder has approximately 250 trees, normally in their backyards. Each tree yields an average of 1.5 kilos of cherry so the average producer sells about 200-300 kilos of cherry annually.
During the harvest season, all coffee is selectively handpicked. Most families only have 200 to 250 trees, and harvesting is done almost entirely by the family.
After sorting, cherry is pulped within 6 hours of delivery. During pulping, cherry is separated into high- and low-grade by density on a Mackinon 3-disc pulper outfitted with an additional separation disk. Once pulped, coffee is placed in Epoxy- coated, concrete fermentation tanks. Oro yeast purchased from the French company Lalcafe is added to the tanks. The tanks are left to ferment in this environment for approximately 36 hours.
LALCAFÉ ORO yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) was specially developed for coffee production over a four-year period of research and trials. Trials in various regions and environments showed that Oro is well suited to better control the wet process’ efficiency and to upgrade the cup quality.
The longer fermentation time for yeast processed coffees also allows for more developed flavors. The extra time enables the beans to absorb metabolites, which can enhance flavors. Complexity, acidity, brightness, floral notes and more are all boosted by the lengthened fermentation time.
After fermentation is completed, coffee is washed and sorted into seven different grades according to density. They were then left to dry on raised beds for 2-3 weeks, with repeated sorting and sifting to ensure even drying until ideal moisture level is attained.
Region: Kayanza, Burundi
Variety: Red Bourbon
Processing: Oro Yeast Fully Washed
Altitude: 1,700 - 1,900 M.A.S.L
This coffee is roasted for filter; and is recommended for brewing using the V60, Kalita, Mugen or other drip / immersion coffee makers.