Our final Burundi of the season and we’ve saved the best for last. This is another coffee from the Migoti Coffee Company and this particular anaerobic natural lot stood out on the table. When we cupped the first production batch we immediately thought of Blackberry and Apple Crumble. Super juicy and sweet with a little tang. Absolutely delicious.
Burundi is among the smallest coffee producing countries in East Africa, with a population of 10.5 million that is endowed with ideal conditions for coffee production: elevations of 1500 - 2000 m, Arabica Bourbon coffee trees, abundant rainfall, and approximately 800,000 families who cultivate an average of 150-200 coffee trees per farm. Arabica coffee now represents virtually 100% of Burundi’s national production and the bourbon variety grown at high elevations in Burundi is characteristically “sweet with bright acidity, big body, floral, citrus and spiced with wild notes.” Over the past 25 years, coffee production in Burundi has averaged 26,700 tons per year.
In 2016 Migoti Coffee Company built a coffee washing station at Migoti Mountain, partnering with industry experts who provided technical expertise. Coffee trees are owned by the community, and Migoti purchases the coffee cherries directly from the farmers who harvest and deliver the cherries. Over 300 tons of green coffee was produced and exported from Migoti Mountain in the 2017, 2018 and 2019 coffee seasons. These harvests have received excellent cupping scores, frequently placing it as some of the best speciality coffee coming from Burundi.
The washing station is operated by a local team of ten permanent staff and over 250 temporary workers who are employed during the coffee season from March to June.
The station manager, Zephyrin Banzubaze, is responsible for managing all of the staff to train coffee farmers, receive and select coffee cherries, process the coffee, oversee the coffee drying process, store and mill the dry parchment coffee and prepare the final green coffee for export. The majority of the temporary staff are women, who work mainly on the raised drying tables, regularly turning the coffee as it dries and removing defective beans that compromise the coffee quality. Migoti also assists farmers through ongoing education to prune and properly care for coffee trees, intercrop, plant shade trees, utilise green fertilisers to stabilise soil and natural pest control. The expectation is that by following best farming practices the farmers can increase the yields from their coffee trees by five to ten fold.