Cupping Notes: Sweet Lime, Chocolate Malt, Blood Orange, CaramelDesription: Gahahe Washing Station receives cherry from 1,740 smallholder farmers from the Kayanza region in Northern Burundi. The washing station is operated by Bugestal, a local company who not only understand coffee processing intimately, but also value their team. Bugestal invests 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.
I cupped the arrival sample of this coffee in the middle of writing this short blurb, and let me tell you, it showed up. We’ve been (not so) patiently waiting for this one to arrive, and we’re stoked to share that it’s tasting as great as we remember the offer sample. We got notes of Sweet Lime, and Blood Orange, with the sweetness of Caramel, and a finish like Chocolate Malt (think Whoppers™). So dynamic, so good!