Burundi | Buyenzi, WashedRegular price €13,00
Region: Buyenzi, Kayanza
Washing station: Cafex wet mill
Producers: Benga Hill smallholders
Taste notes - Chocolate with raspberries, Darjeeling black tea, red grapefruit.
Burundian coffee at its finest, embodies the essence of this exceptional origin. Prepare to indulge in a symphony of flavours with every cup as fully ripened citrus notes intertwine with a tantalizing bittersweet melody. The grand finale? A delightful tea-like aftertaste that lingers on your palate, leaves you craving more.
Burundi Origin & Region
Burundi is located in the east-central part of Africa. Due to its location on the continent and its state border outline with neighboring countries, it is also known as the "Heart of Africa." Coffee growing in Burundi started around 1930 when Belgian colonists introduced farmers to coffee cultivation.
Like most coffee origins, Burundi has volcanic soil, specifically rich in nitrogen, which helps provide the energy needed for coffee trees to yield a higher crop. When Burundi gained independence from Belgium in 1962, the new government invested resources in planting more coffee trees and building washing stations for coffee crop processing. From 1962 to 1990, coffee production increased significantly. Unfortunately, in 1993, a civil war broke out in Burundi, lasting over 10 years and resulting in farmers being displaced from their land and coffee trees being left uncared for. Smallholders who continued growing coffee faced difficulties in transporting their crops from farms to the still-functioning washing stations. When the civil war ended in 2005, with the help of government finances and private companies interested in cultivating and sustaining coffee farming in Burundi, coffee production started to recover.
Despite its history, nowadays, there are over half a million smallholder farmers growing coffee each season in Burundi. Burundi has five main coffee-growing regions that primarily supply the world with Burundian coffee. This specific lot comes from the region known as Buyenzi, which is located in northern Burundi and shares a border with Rwanda. It is responsible for the majority of the annual coffee yield from this origin. One of the most well-known subregions for growing high-quality coffee is Kayanza, where this lot has been produced. The weather there is mild, with an average annual temperature of around 18°C. Most of the coffee farms in Kayanza are located at altitudes ranging from 1,700 to 2,000 meters. This region is renowned for its high acidity and notes of berry and citrus in the coffee.
This lot is a regional blend grown by Kayanza and Benga Hill smallholder farmers and processed by an organization operating in Burundi called Cafex. The company was founded by a Belgian-Burundian couple who aimed to combine the coffee production of their ancestral lands with sustainable coffee farming development and a desire to improve the lives of the local population. While many coffee producers have to wait several months to receive final payment for their harvest, Cafex has introduced weekly payments to growers, allowing them to have a regular income throughout the coffee harvesting season. They also assist farmers in establishing new coffee plantations and have provided clean drinking water to villages through the washing station. Cafex is also involved in the development of the local village's economy and education system.
The second project of Cafex is the drying mill Ikawa Nzizal, where this lot is dried. Previously, all the dry mill operations were conducted at lower altitudes, resulting in a deterioration of coffee quality during secondary processing. Ikawa Nziza was built higher up in the Benga Hill to maintain the quality. The entire methodology in this dry mill is focused solely on processing specialty coffees to maximize the potential of Burundian coffees, leading to higher income for coffee farmers.
Bourbon is the most common variety grown in Burundi. It was chosen as the most suitable variety by the government, which supported farmers with Bourbon coffee plants at the time.
The variety itself is one of the most culturally and genetically important C. arabica varieties in the world, known for its excellent quality in the cup at high altitudes. French missionaries introduced Bourbon from Yemen to Bourbon Island (now La Réunion), giving it the name it has today, in the early 1700s. Until the mid-19th century, Bourbon did not leave the island. However, starting in the mid-1800s, the variety spread to new parts of the world as the missionaries moved to establish footholds in Africa and the Americas. It still exists as a variety called French Mission Bourbon, but it is usually mixed together with its successor Bourbon in regional coffee blends.
Ripe cherries are selected from daily pickings and transported to the Cafex washing station in Benga Hills. Then, the cherries are floated in water to separate the floaters from the rest of the crop. It is crucial to separate them so that only the highest quality cherries proceed to further processing. The beans are then separated from the pulp and dry-fermented for 14 hours to remove any remaining mucilage. Subsequently, the coffee is dried on raised beds at the Ikawa Nziza drying station. Initially, the drying process is carried out in the shade to protect the beans in case of strong sunlight. If this step is not followed, the beans can dry too quickly, potentially damaging the surface and reducing the cup quality. Once the beans have been drip dried, they are moved to be dried under direct sunlight. Throughout the drying process, the coffee is carefully turned to ensure a consistent drying process. After reaching the optimum moisture content, the coffee is rested in a cool, dark environment before export.