Juicy and tangy rhubarb with a sweet floral rose-hip aroma. Like a bucket of fresh tart berries Best suited to filter styles but would make a super fruity tangy espresso.
Yes I know. .. this all seems rather familiar. You're not wrong if you recall seeing or drinking a coffee from this washing station recently roasted by Crankhouse. You did but it was Lot number 20. This is different. Not massively but from different smallholders in slightly different regions growing the same variety and processed in the same fashion at the same washing station (Shembati). Each lot (lot number) corresponds to approximately a weeks worth of picking and delivery to the mill which is typically 20-60 bags of cherry. The higher the number the later the delivery. Our import partner Nordic Approach cup through hundreds of samples to pick the premium lots and fortunately we were able to purchase two of them.
NA founder Morten Wennersgaard (c) and Salum Ramadhan (r)
The Shembati washing station is one of two stations built in 2016 by the producer Salum Ramadhan. Although he has been working with smallholders in the Shambati area for some years now, the government changed the laws to limit the area washing stations can receive or accept cherry from, so he built these washing stations to be able to continue to work with the smallholders in this area. Mr Ramadhan also invests in social and environmental projects such as education in the local areas, ponds for waste water etc.
The main harvest will normally start very slowly in March, peak around May (depending on altitude and weather) and end in July. The family members on the small farms are working the land, picking the coffee cherries themselves in the afternoon or on Saturdays. They will then either deliver the cherries to the washing station by foot or bicycle, or to the closest collection points where Salum will have his site representative. These 'collectors' are strategically placed in remote areas to buy cherries. The farmers are free to deliver their cherries to anyone offering the highest price and the competition in this area can be hard. Salum and his collectors will communicate with the local farmers on selective picking and sorting. To attract farmers with the best qualities they are constantly paying premiums above the market prices to improve the product.
The elevation at the washing station is high, and the climate is cool, meaning it’s easier to control the fermentation time of the cherries. The traditional fermentation and washing process in Burundi is a lengthy procedure with double fermentation (dry and wet fermentation) before soaking. The double fermentation is a labour intensive process that also requires a lot of water, and therefore creates more wastewater. In this mill thewy have changed the process to reduce water usage and labour, increase capacity and avoid overfermentation.
Coffees typically undergo a 12 hour dry fermentation and is then graded in washing channels into 3-4 grades based on density, before 12-18 hours soaking time in clean water.
From there it goes to pre-drying under shade with handpicking of wet parchment before entering the elevated and sun exposed drying tables. Drying normally takes 15 – 20 days depending on the climate and rainfall. It’s not uncommon with rain during the drying, and they have to be quick to cover up the parchment when they see the clouds are building up.
UKBC and LSOL
These are not secret codes but acronyms for UK Barista Competition and Coffee Forums UK Lighter Side of Life. This coffee was selected by a top Exeter barista to use at the South West heats of the 2018 barista competition. In addition it went out to 60+ subscribers of the coffeeforums.co.uk LSOL. They all get sent an anonymous coffee to be delivered at the same time and they have a little bit of fun comparing notes and trying to guess the origin, process and varietal. They've had some top roasters in the lineup including HasBean, Crafthouse, Drop and Notes. Crankhouse is now on that list.