Cupping Notes: Stone Fruit, Brown Sugar, Tart Cherry
Description: 3,113 smallholder farmers delivery cherry to the Nemba Washing Station. These producers farm at about 1,700 MASL, near the Kibila forest, and have on average 150 coffee trees, which is just under the national average. The washing station is operated by Bugestal, a local company who not only understand coffee processing intimately, but also value their team. Bugestal invest in the communities they operate in, providing jobs, valuable farming education, coast and pig projects, and distributing fertilizers to smallholders who sell cherry to their washing stations. Because it is hard for a smallholder to justify uprooting still productive trees to replant younger, more productive trees, most of the coffee grown in Burundi is on variety, Red Bourbon, and many of the trees are over 50 years old. Bugestal helps ease this transition by buying seeds from the local agronomy institute, and has centralized nurseries where they can begin to mature plants and sell to their farming partners at or below cost.
Unlike other countries where it’s typical to have farms that are tens or hundreds of hectares in size, Burundi farmers are typically farming a very small area, usually just their backyard, with 200-250 trees. Because of this, all of the coffee is picked by hand, and usually picked by the family themselves. Once coffee is picked, it’s delivered either directly to the washing station, or to local collection sites. Coffee is pulped within 6 hours of delivery, and fermented for up to 12 hours before being washed with mountain water. The parchment is soaked after being washed clean, and then coffee is dried on raised beds for 14-21 days.
Nemba tasted great as a pre-ship sample, and it’s tasting great today as we cup the arrival. We are tasting notes like fresh Tart Cherries, Stone Fruits, sweetness like Brown Sugar, and a delicate finish like Oolong tea.