Thumbnail Filmstrip of Burundi Masha Washing Station Images
About Burundi Masha Washing Station
Arrived early February 2019, new crop in Grain-Pro.
This is our first time offering coffee from the Masha Washing Station, but regular Burundi coffee buyers will be familiar with Kayanza Province from which it hails. Built in 1989, the washing station sits at 1672 meters above sea level and processes the coffee cherry of a little over 2100 smallholder farms in the area. The majority of coffee is grown by subsistance farmers, who grow food crops for their own supply as well as some cash crops (like coffee), not on larger factory farms or plantations, as is the norm in other countries. Coffee, once picked, is rushed to the local washing station for processing. The traditional processing method involves pulping the coffee and "dry fermenting" it up to twelve hours, at which point it gets washed in clean mountain water for another 12-24 hours. The beans are then soaked for an additional 12-18 hours before being dried in parchment on raised beds. The Masha Washing Station has 170 drying beds and is capable of processing 750 metric tons of coffee a year.
Protais Siniremera, Sustainablity and Washing Station Manager
The first Cup of Excellence Competition for Burundi took place in 2012, where coffee from this washing station took 13th place. In 2014, coffee lots from Masha won 8th and 17th place, and in 2017 a washed bourbon (like this coffee) won 7th place.
Workers tend to drying beds
The popularity of specialty coffee production has risen in Burundi in recent years, as it earns higher premiums for farmer members of washing stations. Coffee marketing legislation enacted in 2008 allows for direct sales contracts between Burundian producers and international coffee buyers, roasters and importers (exportation and marketing were previously controlled by the government). This legislation also permits the payment of a quality premium to those responsible for producing "specialty" coffee, which follows a similar model in Rwanda where coffee quality has seen major improvement in recent years.
Cherries ready to be processed
- Washing Station:Masha
- Province: Kayanza
- Commune: Gatara
- Altitude: 1672 Meters above sea level
- Coffee variety: Bourbon
- Processing: Washed
Cup Characteristics: Flavors of Meyer lemon, butterscotch, baker's chocolate and a touch of spice. Tannic and smooth on the palate, and acetic like rice wine vinegar. Starts succulent and mouth filling but ends dry.
Roasting Notes: Bourbon coffees tend to be sturdy and dense, and as such can be roasted to most levels. Our personal preference is to pull at the very start of 2nd Crack; at this level some high notes are present while the chocolate elements of the coffee are well defined.
Burundi coffee facts:
Population: 8.98 million people
Coffee Production: 515 thousand bags (60 kg) or 68 million pounds. Arabica is 96% of production.
Country bag capacity: 132 pounds - 60 kg
Domestic Consumption: Very little.
Coffee Export: 510 thousand bags (60 kg)
Cultivated Area: 60,000 hectares (about 150,000 acres)
Harvests: February - June
Arabica Introduced: Arabica introduced by the Belgians in early 1930s.
Specialty Coffee Regions: The western and central regions.
Grades: Superior grades of washed coffee are Ngoma Mild, AA and A based on size and number of allowable defects. Average moisture content is 11.5%.
Farms: Entirely small holder based activity with over 800.000 families directly involved in coffee farming. Farms are very small with most only 50 to 250 trees per farm. Coffee is cultivated at altitudes ranging from 1250 and 2000 meters above sea level.
Botanical Varietals: Bourbon almost exclusively but very small quantities of Jackson and Mibirizi.
Since land is scarce in small Burundi it is more economically desirable that the specialty coffee be developed for its improved income. At present there are about 140 washing stations where local subsistence farmers can bring their freshly harvested coffee cherries for processing. Most processing is traditional washed method, with some semi washed being done where washing stations do not yet exist. Burundi is landlocked between Rwanda, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo with a significant portion of its land adjacent to Lake Tanganyika. Coffee from Burundi is attracting increasing attention from the specialty coffee industry, as has neighboring Rwanda.