Give these guys a warm welcome.
We first got together with Merito Coffee roasters back in June 2019 to feature a star Colombian producer by the name of Diofanor Ruiz. Together we delved into a new processing technique called Black Honey, It's timely that Hans and the Merito team are back to accompany us to Burundi for the very first time. Review that collaboration here.
During June we explored:
Businde, Pronounced ‘Bu-sen-d’ (short ‘u’ and ‘d’ sounds) is one of two Matraco Coffee washing stations owned by Burundi local Zuberi Matsitsi. The location is home to a Twa ethnic group, who make up less than 1% of the population and who are one of the poorest and most discriminated against minorities in the country. To the surrounding area, Businde station provides vital employment for around 20 weeks per year in which the season spans, as well as a point of sale for their coffee cherry. Matraco not only collect cherry from their own 8000 trees located around the station but they also purchase cherry from the hills surrounding Businde. They purchase from the hills of Mbirizi and Gahombo with buying points set up between due to the distance to the station. The selflessness of Zuberi and shared values of Raw Material have lead to continued mutual support. Businde’s location in Gahombo commune saw Raw Material purchase 173,000kg of cherry from 648 families in 2019. From this harvest, producers benefited from payments 20% above the previous seasons market rate, while casual workers benefited from income 59% above the average casual rates. In addition to financial reward, Matraco distributes coffee pulp, fertilizer and coffees seedlings to its contributing producers.
FARMER AND PRODUCERS:
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One of the poorest, most under developed countries in the World, with some 13% of the population living in urban areas. Since its independence in 1962, Burundi has had a hard road and constant instability. To this day it remains one of the most politically corrupt countries in the world. Production of coffee is not guaranteed from one year to the next with production license needing to be obtained by the regulatory boards each year. Regulations regularly change, this year saw the requirement that producers have the money to pay the farmers, held in trust before any cherry is delivered to the washing station. To give perspective to such a situation, last years harvest was 25% of normal export levels making such a demand unreasonable. These demands were then topped of by a law that stated any producer who didn’t comply would lose their washing station and license permission for their lifetime. The challenges of getting coffee from Burundi don’t end there, as a land locked country buyers face many hurdles in getting coffee to port. It is common practice that each step of coffee production in Burundi is its own specialist field. Pickers pick, millers mill and washing is done at the farm or fully washed processing as this example is the domain of washing stations who then set the sell price. (Fully washed, also known as double washed or Kenyan processing, a double fermented/double washed coffee that results in an exceptionally clean cup profile). Once the purchase is complete there remains the hurdle of getting coffee to port in a country with fuel shortages and ensuring packaging is appropriate for safe transport to port.
Region:Kayanza Commune: Gahombo
Contributing Producers: 648
Altitude: 1650 - 1800 MASL
Variety: Red Bourbon Process:
Anerobic, fully Washed Drying: 25 days on raised beds
Tasting notes: Cola Cocoa Cherry Red Apple
Method: Bloom 1: 36g water for 30 seconds
Bloom 2: Pour to 72g for 30 seconds
Pour: Remaining water to 300g total
Time: Target 3:30 – 4 minute contact
Thanks to Raw Material for the additional photos.