This coffee is grown and produced by farming families in the province of Ngozi. The region’s high altitude and acidic soils provide the ideal conditions for growing coffee. Bananas, maize, potatoes, beans, cassava, sweet potatoes and peas can be found growing alongside coffee here, wrapping the hill in every imaginable shade of green.
While women make up only 22% of the producers who contributed to this coffee, they are without question the thread that holds coffee farming communities together in Burundi. They work incredibly hard- hand tilling the soil, growing, harvesting, sorting and hauling multiple crops- not just coffee. They often do it with a baby on their back or a child at their hip.
After picking ripe coffee cherries for hours in the early morning, farmers will selectively hand pick and float their cherries at home before delivering them. A farmer might walk as far as 3km on narrow dirt footpaths carrying coffee cherries on their head in order to reach this collection point. There is a pre- selection area and floating station at this collection point where the coffee cherries are taken to be sorted and floated once again.
Any underdeveloped, low-density or insect damaged cherries will float to the top and are easily skimmed off. The cherries that rise to the top are bought at a lower price, their quality immediately separated from the sinkers then processed and sold as a lower grade coffee.
After each farmer’s cherries have been selected, weighed and their contribution recorded, this Bourbon coffee is laid out in a single layer on traditional African raised beds to dry in its whole fruit. The cherries are then meticulously hand-sorted for color, ripeness and insect damage by a team of pickers. The drying cherries are rotated continuously throughout the day and covered when the sun’s rays are too intense, when it’s raining and overnight. Commitment to the perfect moisture level (10-11%) means coffee spends 20-30 days slow drying, depending on the weather conditions, soaking up as much of the hot East African sun as possible. Farmer Premiums Bonuses are paid to farming families in the form of a second payment at the end of the export year- before the next harvest season opens.
Region: Bwiza-Bweranka Hill, Ngozi Commune
Coffee varieties: Bourbon
Processing: Natural, Raised African Drying Beds
Altitude: 1,661 meters above sea level