Burundi coffee goes on! Burundi кофе
Cafe Imports | Burundi
Coffee production has been something of a roller coaster in Burundi, with wild ups and downs: During the country’s time as a Belgian colony, coffee was a cash crop, with exports mainly going back to Europe or to feed the demand for coffee by Europeans in other colonies. Under Belgian rule, Burundian farmers were forced to grow a certain number of coffee trees each—of course receiving very little money or recognition for the work. Once the country gained its independence in the 1960s, the coffee sector (among others) was privatized, stripping control from the government except when necessary for research or price stabilization and intervention. Coffee farming had left a bad taste, however, and fell out of favor; quality declined, and coffee plants were torn up or abandoned.
After the civil war–torn 1990s and the nearly total devastation of the country’s economy, coffee slowly emerged as a possible means to recover the agrarian sector and increase foreign exchange. In the first decade of the 2000s, inspired in large part by neighboring Rwanda’s success rebuilding through coffee, Burundi’s coffee industry saw an increase in investment, and a somewhat healthy balance of both privately and state-run coffee companies and facilities has created more opportunity and stability, and has helped Burundi establish itself as an emerging African coffee-growing country, despite its small size and tumultuous history.
Like Rwanda and, to a lesser extent, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi battles the infamous “potato defect,” a microorganism that contributes a raw-potato-like flavor and aroma to infected beans, and which can’t be detected by sight in parchment, green, or roasted coffee. Research efforts to eradicate the defect completely have shown promise, and we look forward to the day when the potato is a distant memory.
Like many of its neighbors in Africa, Burundi produces microlots almost by default: Each farmer owns an average of less than even a single hectare, and delivers cherries to centralized depulping and washing stations, SOGESTALs (Sociéte de Gestion des Stations de Dépulpage Lavage), and it may take more than producers’ delivery in order to create a lot.
This purchasing style makes it nearly impossible, if not completely impossible, to arrive at single-producer, single-farm, or single-variety lots; instead, coffees are typically sold under the appellation of the washing station. (In Kayanza, there are 21 washing stations, including familiar names to Cafe Imports’ offerings page: Gackowe, Butezi, Gatare, and Kiryama.)
Depending on the leadership and management at the stations, both private- and state-run, the attention to detail in the processing makes a big difference, with meticulous sorting, fermenting, and washing necessary to create quality and uniformity among the coffee. The typical processing method in Burundi is similar somewhat to Kenya, with a “dry fermentation” of roughly 12 hours after depulping, followed by a soak of 12–14 hours in mountain water. Coffees are floated to sort for density, then soaked again for 12–18 hours before being dried in parchment on raised beds.
CAFE IMPORTS + BURUNDI
We have been visiting this tiny country (barely the size of Maryland) since 2006, cupping coffees from more than 50 different washing stations, trying to figure out what makes Burundi coffee so special, and so different—even from relatively nearby Rwanda, the country with which it’s most often paired and compared. Logistically, sourcing microlots here (and getting them out of the country) is difficult: It’s a landlocked country, one of the poorest in the world, and still burdened by a history of political unrest thanks to a brutal colonial history and the aftershocks that will, like any colonial history, be felt for generations to come.
The coffee, though? It’s worth it.
Every year, we await Burundi coffees with giddy anticipation: The best of them are often stunning, pushing the highest reaches of our cupping scores. These are sugar-fruit coffee: fig jam, floral, sparkling with citrus. Before anyone thought to seek out (and pay for) specialty coffees from here, however, these lots were lost in bulk, commercial exports. Jason A. Long, Café Imports head of sourcing and CEO, was one of the first champions of Burundi as a specialty-coffee origin to watch, and he remains dedicated to discovering and bringing to market the microlots with the most character, structured acidity, and, yes, plenty of sparkle.
Burundi Kayanza SFA Washing Station - 250gr
Burundi’de yetiştirilen varyetelerin çoğu Bourbon ve Bourbon alt varyeteleri olduruğu için Burundi kahvesi yoğun gövdesi ve tatlılığı ile bilinir. Yüksek rakımlar tatlılığı ve gövdeyi destekleyen daha nüanslı bir asiditeye katkıda bulunur. Bu kahve, güzel bir espresso ve tek orijinli filtre seçeneğidir.
Kayanza bölgesi Burundi’nin Kuzeyinde Ruanda sınırında yer alır. Binlerce tepeden oluşan bölgede büyük ekim alanları yerine, küçük aileler tarafından işletilen ve en yakın yıkama istasyonuna kahveleri götüren bir üretim yapısı vardır. Sogestal Kayanza bölgesinde 21 yıkama istasyonu vardır; Buhorwa (1820 m), Butezi (1660 m), Bwayi (1760 m), Gacokwe (1650 m), Gatare (1680 m), Gitwenge (1580 m), Karehe (1580 m), Karinzi (1740 m), Kavumu (1650 m), Kinyovu (1880 m), Kirema (1880 m), Kiririma (1700 m), Kiryama (1760 m), Muhanga (1580 m), Mutsinda (1580 m), Mutumba (1500 m), Nyarurambi (1600 m), Rama (1580 m), Rubanga (1600 m), Rugoza (1560 m).
Geleneksel Burundi işleme metodu, kahvenin 12 saat ila 24 saat arasındaki temiz dağ suyuyla tamamen yıkanmadan 12 saat kadar önce meyvesinden ayrılıp “kuru fermente edildiği” yöntemdir. Bu ilk su girişi, kuru fermantasyondan sonra parşömen üzerinde herhangi bir şeker kalması durumunda fermantasyon işlemini durdurur. Kahve çekirdekleri sonrasında yoğunluklarına göre su kanallarında ayrılır, ve son olarak yüksek yataklarda kurutulmadan önce 12 ila 18 saat ıslatılırlar.
Burundi kahve sektörü önemli aşamalardan ve değişikliklerden geçti ve bunların hepsi kahve üretimini büyük ölçüde etkiledi.
Kahve için ilk aşama 1962’de Burundi’nin bağımsızlığına kadar Belçikalıların gözetimindeydi. Bu süre zarfında Belçikalılar kahve üretimini ve satışını kontrol ediyordu.
Kahve endüstrisi 1962’den 1976’ya kadar özel sektördeydi. Bu süre zarfında devlet, sadece araştırmaya fon sağlamak, kalite iyileştirmesine yardımcı olmak ve üreticiler tarafından alınan fiyatı ayarlamak ve istikrara kavuşmak için müdahalelerde bulunuyordu. Devletin yardımıyla bile, kahve üretiminin niceliği ve kalitesi düştü. Üretimdeki azalmanın nedeni, bağımsızlık sonrası siyasi istikrarsızlıktan ve halkın kahve yetiştirme konusundaki ilgisinin olmamasından kaynaklanıyordu. Kahve yetiştirmek kolonizasyonun sembolü olarak görülüyordu.
1976’da kahve endüstrisi tamamen devlet denetimi altına girdi. Özel kahve fabrikaları kamusallaştırıldı ve tüm ihracat faaliyetleri devletin kontrolüne girdi. Kamu sektörü olma amacı gerçekleştirilebilir başarısız üretim miktarını ve kalitesini arttırmaktı. Kahve endüstrisi 2009’da bir kez daha özel hale geldi. Günümüzde hala bu şekilde devam ediyor.
Özel sektör kahve endüstrisine yatırım yaptıktan sonra hükümet, düzenlemelerin kaldırılması için ilk önlemleri aldı. Bu hareket, kişilerin tamamen özel şirketler kurmasına izin verdi. Bu, özel ihracat şirketlerinin kurulmasına, yeni özel yıkama istasyonlarının kurulmasına, özel fabrikaların kurulmasına ve iki özel kavurma fabrikasının kurulmasına yol açmıştır.
İlk kafemizi açtığımızdan beri en favori espresso çekirdeğimiz oldu. Uzun süre ana çekirdek olarak kullanmaya devam ettik. Parlak bir asiditesi olmasına rağmen Güney Amerika kahvelerini seven kitleyi çok rahatsız etmiyor. Süt ile güzel bir uyumu var.
|Tat||Şeker Kamışı Melası, Lime kabuğu, Çekirdekli Meyveler (Ağırlıklı olarak şeftali ve kayısı notaları), hafif karamel ve çikolata|
|Asidite||Parlak/Dengeli, Çekirdekli meyve asiditesi|
|Tadım Notları||Temiz, Zengin, Kompleks Şeftali tatlılığı|
Burundi coffee goes on! - 32cup
Despite the political turmoil Bujumbura has known since the disputed presidential elections last year, we do not want to abandon the country. Burundi relies heavily on coffee for the well-being of its people, so we keep on supporting the Burundi coffee industry! In the meantime, life in Burundi goes on and the Burundian people who decided to stay in the country stand strong. Aurélie was getting married in Bujumbura, which was a perfect occasion to travel back to Burundi after last year’s visit. Also, our partner Greenco was preparing for the small cupping competition that was organised in Burundi in collaboration with Cup of Excellence. Perfect timing to get a view of what we can expect this Autumn!
Greenco was the giant in the 2015 Cup of Excellence competition. No less than 11 out of 27 winning washing stations were managed by Greenco. The new company took over an already existing group of washing stations to restructure and renew the organisation. In a year and a half, Greenco’s quality focus has already paid off. As a healthy, new organisation with transparent cash flow and good management, Greenco is one of the drivers of the current quality-oriented coffee production chain. The producers receive good remuneration for their work, and are paid correctly on the set payment days. Currently, they oversee 13 washing stations in the Kayanza region of northern Burundi.The majority of the washing station managers are young and dynamic agronomists, who not only know coffee, but also know how to work with computers. This has greatly simplified information flow, traceability of the lots and communication between the stations and quality control. Big efforts have been made to address the challenge of the potato defect. The quality team uses UV lamps to inspect the quality of the coffee beans. Affected beans light up under the lamp and can easily be taken out. Next to that, they have a test project with electronic noses underway. These highly sensitive sensors detect the smell of infected beans, which are then removed. More research on preventive measures is also being carried out, to reduce the incidence of the potato defect in the first place, rather than only removing it after the damage has been done.In addition to these quality checks, the washing stations are also being fixed up on a regular basis. Fermentation and washing tanks and channels have been re-coated with extra-durable paint so they remain clean throughout the entire season. The quality of the coffee is monitored strictly and recorded during all processing steps. Each washing station also has a large nursery bed with seedlings for farm renewal.
According to figures of the UN, coffee accounts for 80% of Burundi’s export earnings. 55% of the population depends on coffee for an income. The government has organised the coffee sector in SOGESTALs (Societé de Gestion de Stations de Lavage) or washing station management companies. Apart from these state-owned companies, private companies could also buy washing stations at the time when privatization of the coffee sector was encouraged by the World Bank. The large majority of the Sogestals and washing stations, however, are still owned by the state.Due to the financial crisis, foreign investment in the country stopped and exports took a blow as well. Coffee production numbers dropped by 30% this year because many people have fled the country in the meantime, abandoning their plantations. With little money flowing back into the country, a dramatic number of coffee producers have not received payment for over a year for the cherries they sold to the washing stations.
Payment day at Butegana washing station. The growers who sold their cherries to Butegana gather with their cherry receipt notes to claim payment.
When the coffee producers come to the washing station after a day’s harvest to sell their cherries, they usually don’t get paid straight away. They receive a cherry receipt note, which records the volume and quality they delivered and the price of the cherry that day. On payment day, the management of the washing station usually brings cash to the station to pay all registered coffee producers. These can come to the washing station with their cherry receipt note if they want to receive payment. They can also choose to keep the note and cash on a later date if they want to save the money for future projects.The shortage of money in the country has made it hard for many washing stations to pay the producers for their cherries. When we were visiting end of June together with Luis, who leads Greenco, we were lucky to witness the grand payment day at Butegana washing station. Normally, this is a day of big celebration, but a wait-and-see vibe hung in the air. People had been queuing since 10am, and some had already received their payment when we arrived. The overjoyed reaction of these people was touching. An elderly lady danced and clapped her hands out of gratitude when she saw Luis. You would assume payment is the natural way of things, but this face-to-face with reality put things in perspective.
Payment is calculated on-site per grower based on the cherry receipt note
Cherry receipt note. The markings here don’t really correspond to the boxes, but from left to right it shows the collection date, receipt ID number, sheet number, cherry weight, payment per kg of cherry, and the total price paid to producer
Burundi coffee – Autumn 2016
Learning about the current situation of the Burundi coffee producers made it all the more clear that this beautiful country cannot be overlooked. We’re proud to be working with Greenco, and to help the communities around the washing stations reach a larger international market and fetch higher premiums for their work. There’s some perfectly delicious coffees to be found in Burundi, for those who can put their fear of the potato defect aside. A growing number of projects are addressing this defect in different ways, working hard to reduce and hopefully eliminate it from the country’s challenges. There are trainings on bug catching and quality checks with UV light and electronic noses to sort out defect beans, to name a few. The results have already been promising!We have supported Burundi coffee producers and washing stations since the start of 32cup, and we will continue buying and promoting Burundian coffee. The coffees we have tasted from Greenco washing stations like Nemba, Masha, Yandaro and Kibingo this harvest already would convince even the most potato-frightened coffee roaster. The lots we selected will be available for deliveries by Autumn. Stay tuned to find out about our cuppings!
The Burundian cupping competition is taking place in Ngozi this week. The live auction will be held on-site in Ngozi on July 17th, together with the representatives of the washing stations who made it to the final selection.
Burundi | Sweet Maria's Coffee Library
Burundi is a small landlocked country at the crossroads of East and Central Africa, straddling the crest of the Nile-Congo watershed. Sandwiched between Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania, Burundi has beautiful Lake Tanganyika for much of its western border. The capital of Bujumbura borders the Lake, and is the port of export. The coffee can be exported from Mombasa, Kenya or Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, but both are long overland routes that can experience delays on the road or at port. This can affect the condition of the coffee greatly, and is a huge challenge in preserving the original quality of Burundi coffee.
Burundi has an ideal terrain for coffee, with growing regions dispersed in the central and northern areas. Burundi is dominated by hills and mountains, with considerable altitude variation, from the lowest point being the lake at 772 meters above sea level to the top of Mount Heha at 2670 meters. We have offered a selection of large and small lots from areas Kirimiro, Ngozi and Kayanza in the past. These were formerly available as "Sogestal" coffees, but now can be sourced from private mills as well. A Sogestal is a regional grouping of washing stations (wet mills). The Sogestal system was instituted and controlled by the government, and is currently being dismantled due to inefficiencies, and farmer discontent. It worked for producing larger volumes of washed (wet-processed) coffees for sale to coffee traders, but not as a model to gain increased prices in the marketplace or higher payments to farmers.
History of Burundi Coffee
Coffee farming does not have an extraordinarily long history here, as with the other Lake region coffees of East Africa. The first Arabica coffee tree in Burundi was introduced by the Belgians in the early 1930s and has been growing in the country ever since. Coffee cultivation is an entirely smallholder farmer activity with over 700,000 families directly involved in coffee farming. Their combined total acreage is roughly 60,000 hectares in the whole country and planted with about 25 million coffee trees. In fact the rural population was legally obligated at one time to plant coffee; 50 trees per farmer. Burundi has struggled through the upheavals of decolonization and horrific civil war, and still has one of the lowest per capita incomes in Africa. This belies the stunning beauty of the place and the warmth of the people. The reorganizing of the coffee industry, with a revitalized cooperative system as well as private farms and mills, has echoed the development across the land. With so many lives linked to coffee production, gaining a better price for a better quality of coffee seems like an obvious improvement, and few places have the potential for great quality as Burundi.
The Burundi Coffee Mill
Burundi is traditionally a wet-processed coffee, with stations often employing a two-stage fermentation method as you might find in Kenya. Their practices in coffee wet-milling are definitely good, provided they are followed. If the coffee that is selected includes unripe cherry, a good washing station will ask the farmer to sort these particular cherries out. The under-ripe coffee can still be submitted separately at some stations and often are purchased for the same price in order to avoid penalizing the farmer. (This needs to be considered in terms of quality - stations that pay on different scales based on quality of cherry selection motivates the farmer to pick better).
Many washing stations have large concrete basins where the farmers immerse the coffee cherry, skimming off "floaters" - seeds (aka green beans) that have failed to mature. Floating the coffee cherry is a great step towards a better quality cup. In my experience the first 12-36 hour fermentation is done without water (aerobic fermentation) and the second fermentation is done under water (anaerobic), but this can vary from station to station. The washing station is perched on a slope and the coffee is washed from the first, higher tier of fermentation tanks, and on down a channel where mucilage is agitated off the coffee. It then lands in a second strata of concrete tanks, where it is left submerged in water. Then there is one final wash as the coffee passes down a concrete channel, and is taken to either "skin drying" beds or full sun beds, where the eventual hand-picking removal of defects will take place. In Rwanda, much coffee is still "home processed" and bulked for sale as "Ordinaire" or "Ordinary Coffee". In contrast, Burundi created the Sogestal infrastructure and did not permit home processing of coffee by the farmers.
Like Rwanda, Burundi is primarily planted in Bourbon, which is grown at high altitudes ranging from 1250 to 2000 meters. Also similar to Rwanda, smallholder farmers of Burundi tend to about 50 to 250 trees. Historically, coffee from the area was sold as bulked "Ngoma Mild" coffee (Ngoma is a traditional drum). The farmers would bring their coffee to local washing stations, which along with 20-30 other wet mills, made up the Sogestal. All of the coffee collected from the Sogestal members would be blended, and separating qualities was not possible.
Several years ago the coffee market was "liberalized". This meant that individual washing stations could now keep coffees separate, and then market the individual lots to buyers by station, "day lots", or processing batches. With this comes the new possibility to find gems that were formerly mixed in with the not-so-good lots. So new possibilities are emerging in Burundi, and it is a coffee to watch.
Like Rwanda, the specter of "potato defect" haunts this coffee. It is so named for the flavor of uncooked potato found in the affected cup. It is caused primarily by a coffee-boring insect that makes a hole into the fruit on the tree and damages the green bean. The pyrazine-based compound that causes the potato taste enters the coffee fruit and binds to the green seed as a result of this damage, and it appears that other physical damage to the fruit on the tree can cause this taste as well. But farmers that manage their trees well, harvest all the ripe cherry, and do not allow cherry to fall to the ground, will have much lower incidence of potato defect.
Our Experience in Burundi, and the Cup Characteristics
I've made many trips to Burundi over the past few years to visit farms and cup, to participate in the national coffee competitions as a judge, to visit cooperatives and private mills. Even still, I fell I am a relative late-comer to Burundi coffee. I see a mix of potential and great challenges here. When the coffee is good, it can easily be 88+ point coffee and pique our interest. But when it's bad...well, the coffee is no longer considered except maybe in terms of what went wrong along the way (typically bad processing, bad logistics and transport, or by politics of the coffee trade that support unsustainable practices).
Frankly, I am surprised that Burundi coffee isn't more highly prized in the "good coffee" scene. When I started in coffee, all the "other" East Africans were considered to pale in the presence of top Kenya lots. If coffee is only about acidity, that might hold some truth. But Burundi coffees are a completely different flavor profile. A good Burundi is guilty of being balanced in acidity, flavors and mouthfeel. It's not a "showy" flavor profile, but it's the kind of coffee I consistently want to take home on the weekends to drink. It arrives fresh into our warehouse at a time when the options for Central America are flagging, and placed on a cupping table with the best Guatemala coffees it shows it's grace and subtle complexity.
Some roasters won't take chances on Burundi (and Rwanda) coffees because of the occasional defect cup. These are fairly rare in well-processed lots, and I feel it represents a gross overreaction to a small problem: It's throwing the proverbial baby out with the bathwater. The loser is the coffee consumer who misses out on the beauty of these endlessly pleasurable coffees. - t.o.
Burundi coffee offerings
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