Our Burundi lots have finally arrived in Melbourne!
We have bought from three different mills this year – Mbirizi, Buziraguhindwa and Sogestal Muwimwa. The former are run by Ramadhan Salum and the later is a government initiative run by the Growers Association of Burundi.
Ramadhan’s mills are located in the Kayanza province of Burundi and they purchase cherry from local smallholders. The mill serves many farmers and saves them from carrying heavy loads of coffee to mills closer to the city. The major harvest will normally start in May and run through till the start of August. Farmers and family members will often collect cherry and deliver to the closest collection points where Ramadhan will have a representative from the mill stationed. They are specifically placed in remote areas to buy cherry from a wide variety of farmers. All of these representatives who buy cherry have strict quality control measures in place before the coffee reaches the mill. Hand sorting alongside small flotation tanks are used at various collection points set up to control and promote quality. The competition in this region is fierce and Ramadhan ensures he pays his producers a premium to attract their interest. Ramadhan has also offered us two coffees that are both double fermented. This practice is used to save water but to ensure the quality of the cherry is good before the washing process begins.
The Mbirizi mill was established in early 2014 and has been one of the leading mills in Kayanza in terms of quality ever since. Smallholder farmers in the surrounding areas sell their cherry to the mill daily during harvest and lots are isolated by the hills they are grown on. Bourbon is the main variety found in this area and brings with it a juicy, apple – like acidity. Due to the small nature of land plots in Burundi, specific lots may be made up of many different nearby farmers. Over 2,700 coffee farmers from surrounding hills sell their lots to this particular mill and 21 of these farmers make up the Coffee Farmers Association at Mbirizi.
Fermentation time in the cool climate of this region ranges from 12 to 14 hours (dry), and 15 – 20 hours under water. The drying process will take between 15 and 25 days dependent on the weather. Our lot #59 is fully washed with a dry fermentation of 12 hours and a wet fermentation of 14 hours. The coffee is then soaked for a further 10 hours before it is washed and dried. Recently Ramadhan has been experimenting with other processing methods and we are looking forward to cupping these in the future.
Our cupping notes for Mbirizi # 59 are: Rich and sweet aroma with notes of chocolate and soft red fruits. Herbal and plum flavours combine with a crisp apple acidity to bring a lovely and lengthy cup with a maple syrup finish.
Buziraguhindwa mill was established in 2009 and is situated at almost two kilometres above sea level. Farms from around this region can be found at almost 2,200 MASL! The altitude and climate of this part of Kayanza lends itself to producing some pretty spectacular coffee. Around 3000 farmers sell their cherry to the Buziraguhindwa mill at various collection points throughout the region. This particular mill prides itself on quality hand picking and producing top shelf coffee that is reflective of their surrounding region. This washed coffee is dry fermented for 15- 16 hours, wet fermented for 14 and soaked underwater for another 10. This process is slightly longer than usual but produces consistently high quality cup profiles. We have purchased two seperate lots from this mill and are delighted to be able to share two coffees from the same micro region that take on very different profiles. Over 3000 farmers contribute their lots to this mill and their coffee is always in high demand due to the consistent quality. Both of the lots we have sourced are a mixture of Bourbon & Jackson varietals and are fully washed.
Our cupping notes for Buziraguhindwa lot # 60 are: Bright citrus aroma with slight tropical notes. Apple, pear and raspberry flavours with a juicy and rich jammy finish.
Buziraguhindwa #56: Soft stone fruit and honey aroma. Lemon, hazelnut and soft berry flavours with a long and intense white sugar and citrus finish.
This government run mill is located in the small sub-region of Muwimwa in western Burundi. Sogestal is an acronym ‘Societe de Gestion des Stations de Lavage’ which translates to ‘Management Society of Wash Stations’. Each region in Burundi has their own Sogestal and it is managed partially by the government but also by local producers and farmers who are elected onto the board of The Growers Association. This particular lot is a mixture of Bourbon & Jackson and is a great example of a regional blender. It is fully washed and dried on raised beds. Elevation in this area ranges from 1300 to 1700m and rainfall is approx. 900mm per year.
Sogestal Muwimwa: Apricot and milk chocolate aroma. Lovely juicy peach notes with chocolate and caramel aftertaste. Creamy and coating body with pleasing malic acidity.
Sourcing coffee from Burundi this year has been quite a challenge. Shipping delays and navigating coffee out of a small, landlocked country presented many problems. We are grateful to be working with Ramadhan and are very appreciative of his communication skills and understanding of the exporting process. We were over the moon with the cup profiles and complexity of these recent arrivals and will most certainly be dealing with Ramadhan and his producers for next harvest.
We hope you will enjoy these delicious coffees as much as we have! If you have any questions or would like samples please contact email@example.com