Thumbnail Filmstrip of Burundi Muramba Washing Station Images
About Burundi Muramba Washing Station
Arrived early September 2022, current crop, in grainpro.
Angele Ciza, CEO of Kahawa Company, is a leader in sustainability and women's empowerment in Burundi. She is a significant force in local coffee processing and one of the most notable women in this field in Burundi. Angela believes that good coffee is acheived by using best practices in the nurseries and during picking but by she also invests in additional training, environmental protection, social infrastructure, and cost sharing reductions for the producers who grow and bring coffee to this and other nearby washing stations that she owns. For her, investing in those who grow coffee, especially women, is essential to further developing Burundi.
Her Company also known as KALICO, operates seven washing stations in northeast Burundi. Specifically in the Kurundo and Muyinga provinces. We have purchased other coffees from KALICO in the past and have always found them to be of high quality and fairly priced. The Muramba Washing Station was built in 1984 and is located around 1720 meters above sea level or roughly 5650 feet. The washing station receives cherries from 285 smallholders producers (185 Women and 100 men), who live all around the washing station and grow primarily Bourbon variety. The smallholders farmers are organized as the Terimbere Cooperative which means "Letís move forward."
Coffee was first introduced to Burundi by the Belgians in the 1930s. For a country where approximately 90% of the population relies on farming for a living, coffee and tea have remained the top two respective cash crops for generations. The vast majority of Burundi's coffee producers are small farm holders who manage an average of 200 trees on single, 1-acre plots or smaller. That's only about 2 bags of coffee a year. These producers are responsible for growing and harvesting their own lot of cherries which are in turn sold to either privately-run or government owned wash stations called Sogestals.
The majority of coffee in Burundi is grown by subsistence 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 for 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 for 8-10 days. About 90% of the population relies on farming for a living and coffee is the main product being farmed. There are more than 600,000 coffee farmers in Burundi so it is easy to see how critical quality, exportable coffee is to the nation. The overall quality is good and it is our job to find the gems.
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.
- Country: Burundi
- Producer: Approximately 285 Small Farm Holders
- Farm/Region: Kirundo, Lot 9235 Muramba
- Altitude of Farms: 1650-2100 meters
- Varietal: Red Bourbon
- Harvest: April-June
- Processing: Washed - Double Fermentation
- Drying: Sun dried on raised beds
- Moisture: (11.9 %)
- Density: (.75 g/mL)
Cup Characteristics: Very sweet smelling, brown sugar, caramel. Flavors of banana, nutmeg and milk chocolate. A pronounced body with a lingering, lemony, and clean finish.
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.