Compared to its neighbouring countries, the small east-central African country known as The Republic of Burundi isn’t particularly well known for its specialty coffee. This, however, is not for lack of quality. In fact, the smallholder farmers who grow the vast majority of the country’s coffee produce a crop of a quality that can be described as nothing less than exceptional.
The Precious Cherry
It is not for nothing that coffee is also known in Burundi as “the precious cherry”. For thousands of families and smallholders in Burundi, coffee is of extreme financial importance. When a farmer borrows money, it is after the coffee harvest when he pays his debts, not the cassava harvest.
The majority of families have only small plantations (usually their back yard) consisting of 200 to 250 trees, and picking of the fruit is done by hand almost solely by family members.
Coffee washing stations, such as the Gihere Central Washing Station, allow local coffee growers to be able to sell their coffee cherry harvest for a fair price while also forgoing the need to process the fruit themselves. The resulting reduction in labour and time costs allow for the pursuit of other income-generating activities, as well as hobbies.
Burundi Kirezi Fully Washed
John Watt & Son’s choice of Burundi speciality coffee is the Burundi Kirezi Fully Washed, which is certified by UTZ as sustainably farmed. It is sourced from Sucafina’s in-country partner, Bugestal, which is a family-owned coffee business that promotes the use of farm-direct supply chains and collaborates with the Kahawatu Foundation who work with coffee growing communities with the aim to increase livelihood and general equality.
Details of Burundi Kirezi Fully Washed
Altitude: 1500 – 1800 metres above sea level
Processing: Fully Washed
Variety: Red Bourbon
Aroma: overtures of fruit
Flavour: Sweet, smokey mouthfeel