CHECK THE PRODUCTS
Region: Kayanza, Shembati
Station: Shembati Washing Station
Producer: Salum Ramadhan
Variety: Red Bourbon
Altitude: 1750 masl
250 gr Whole bean :
1kg whole bean :
Notes Of A Roaster From The Underground: lemon, raspberry, grapefruit, honey
OMNIROAST or "absolute peak". We do not have different roasting profiles for espresso and drip brewing methods. We believe in their harmony. We underline the fact that you do not have to drink burnt coffee if you are drinking espresso or "sour" coffee if you are drinking drip coffee. Highlighting a cliche: "One day everybody will roast omni".
NKANGO ESTATE, BURUNDI
Salum is the only Burundian producer to own his own farm and washing stations in a country where 95% of the coffee industry is divided between 2 major players. His high-quality work has confirmed that he is the right choice for a source. The coffee is then fully washed processed at the Shembati washing station.
Burundi is a small country at the crossroads of East and Central Africa, situated between Rwanda, DR Congo and Tanzania. Its plantations are often located at altitudes of between 1,800 and 2,100 meters and the country produces mostly fullywashed Red Bourbon. Introduced initially by the Belgians in the 1920s, Burundian coffee production has since grown rapidly and now employs 55% of the working population. It is therefore essential that the industry remains healthy in order to drive up living standards in Burundi, which are among the lowest in the world. However, 95% of the sector is divided between just 2 major players. Salum, an entrepreneur, coffee enthusiast, and manager of a well-oiled transport company, he owns his own farm and 4 washing stations. Shembati is one of these washing stations. It is located at an altitude of between 1,700 and 1,800 metres in the commune of Butaganzwa, 50 km from the city of Kayanza. The coffees processed there come from micro plantations managed by 1,500 farmers in the surrounding area.
Coffee production has been something of a roller coaster in Burundi, with wild ups and downs: During the country’s time as a Belgian colony, coffee was a cash crop, with exports mainly going back to Europe or to feed the demand for coffee by Europeans in other colonies. Under Belgian rule, Burundian farmers were forced to grow a certain number of coffee trees each—of course receiving very little money or recognition for the work. Once the country gained its independence in the 1960s, the coffee sector (among others) was privatized, stripping control from the government except when necessary for research or price stabilization and intervention. Coffee farming had left a bad taste, however, and fell out of favor; quality declined, and coffee plants were torn up or abandoned.
After the civil war–torn 1990s and the nearly total devastation of the country’s economy, coffee slowly emerged as a possible means to recover the agrarian sector and increase foreign exchange. In the first decade of the 2000s, inspired in large part by neighboring Rwanda’s success rebuilding through coffee, Burundi’s coffee industry saw an increase in investment, and a somewhat healthy balance of both privately and state-run coffee companies and facilities has created more opportunity and stability, and has helped Burundi establish itself as an emerging African coffee-growing country, despite its small size and tumultuous history.
Like Rwanda and, to a lesser extent, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi battles the infamous “potato defect,” a microorganism that contributes a raw-potato-like flavor and aroma to infected beans, and which can’t be detected by sight in parchment, green, or roasted coffee. Research efforts to eradicate the defect completely have shown promise, and we look forward to the day when the potato is a distant memory.
Like many of its neighbors in Africa, Burundi produces microlots almost by default: Each farmer owns an average of less than even a single hectare, and delivers cherries to centralized depulping and washing stations, SOGESTALs (Sociéte de Gestion des Stations de Dépulpage Lavage), and it may take more than producers’ delivery in order to create a lot.
This purchasing style makes it nearly impossible, if not completely impossible, to arrive at single-producer, single-farm, or single-variety lots; instead, coffees are typically sold under the appellation of the washing station. (In Kayanza, there are 21 washing stations, including familiar names to Cafe Imports’ offerings page: Gackowe, Butezi, Gatare, and Kiryama.)
Depending on the leadership and management at the stations, both private- and state-run, the attention to detail in the processing makes a big difference, with meticulous sorting, fermenting, and washing necessary to create quality and uniformity among the coffee. The typical processing method in Burundi is similar somewhat to Kenya, with a “dry fermentation” of roughly 12 hours after depulping, followed by a soak of 12–14 hours in mountain water. Coffees are floated to sort for density, then soaked again for 12–18 hours before being dried in parchment on raised beds.