Burundi – 27
  • Burundi Turaco - El Magnífico
  • Burundi Turaco - El Magnífico
  • Burundi Turaco - El Magnífico
  • Burundi Turaco - El Magnífico
  • Burundi Turaco - El Magnífico
  • Burundi Turaco - El Magnífico
  • Burundi Turaco - El Magnífico
  • Burundi Turaco - El Magnífico

Burundi Turaco

The Washing Station

This Turaco coffee is part of our Sucafina range, one of our long-time importer collaborators who creates and implements projects at source. This particular project brings together batches from small local producers to create a profile reflective of its terroir. Collaborators on this initiative are Greenco and Bugestal, who supervise and structure the washing stations in the areas of Kayanza and Ngozi.
Taking its name from the National Bird of Burundi, it is thanks to projects like Turaco that coffee growers wish to renew their coffee trees every four years, thereby improving their quality of life.

GREENCO
Greenco is a company that organises and supervises washing stations in the Kayanza and Ngozi provinces in Burundi, providing support for producers and washing stations throughout the entire production chain. Their work began in 2015 and resulted in winning eleven batches in the Cup of Excellence in 2017. The global impact of Greenco, with its thirteen washing stations, extends to more than 40,000 coffee-growing families. Greenco CWS managers, all young agronomic engineers, offer support to the producers.
The company collaborates with recent agronomy graduates, which has proven to be beneficial. These graduates are well-versed in computer systems, streamlining the flow of information between the washing stations and Greenco. They bring a fresh and systematic approach to coffee production and processing, staying updated on agricultural practices. Agronomists receive additional training from the NGO Kahawatu Foundation on Best Agricultural Practices (BAP). During the off-season, they provide agronomist assistance to the approximately 4,000 farmers delivering cherries to Greenco, preparing for the next harvest.
All registered producers at Greenco washing stations are organised into groups of 30 people, led by a leading farmer who acts as a spokesperson, facilitating communication and organisation with the washing station. Marc Manirakiza, a young agronomist from the University of Bujumbura, is one of the key individuals responsible for the proper functioning of the Kibingo washing station.
In Burundi, washing stations are strategically located within a 3 km reach of coffee growers. To prevent producers from selling to intermediaries at a disadvantage, Kibingo and other Greenco stations have established collection centres up to 9 km away. This benefits producers who cannot travel far with a heavy load and helps preserve the quality of the cherries.
The washing station supplies organic fertiliser to farmers, made from composted coffee pulp. Producers can also buy low-cost subsidised coffee seedlings at the stations, each equipped with a dedicated nursery for this purpose. Greenco aims to enhance socio-economic and environmental conditions around the washing stations. All stations are UTZ and 4C certified, equipped with water treatment facilities, solar batteries, and panels. Solar panels provide power for computers, lighting, and mobile phones.
Greenco directly purchases 93% of its cherries from farmers through collection centres, addressing Burundi’s high youth unemployment rate, which is almost 50%. Young graduates at Greenco receive a decent salary, benefits (house, motorcycle, health care), and real career prospects. Training is provided for farmer groups on various social aspects, including gender equality, financial planning, family planning, and breastfeeding.

Process

Upon delivery, cherries are sorted by a selection team based on their level of ripeness. This is an essential process for fine coffee processing and fewer damaged beans. In fact, the pre-selection of cherries when they arrive at the station is considered one of the most important steps in the entire process. Here, spring water flowing from the mythical Nile River is used for coffee washing at each stage of the gravity-based processing. Decantation tanks allow the water to be filtered before returning it to its natural course, with the residual mucilage used as compost. Moreover, all waste generated during pulping is converted into organic fertilisers.
The coffee remains in fermentation tanks for approximately 10 hours, and each tank is identified with the washing station, purchase date, grade, and fermentation start time.
Once fermentation is complete, the coffee is passed through washing and sorting channels, where wooden bars spaced along the channel prevent the passage of beans with specific density. The first barrier blocks beans with the highest density, the next one is arranged to stop the second denser beans, and so on. In total, the channel separates the beans into seven grades based on their density. After washing, the parchment is poured into wooden trays or nylon bags and taken to drying tables, each continuing in its separate quality group. Each parchment tray and nylon bag retains its traceability label with all the relevant information.
Once dry, the parchment is bagged and taken to the warehouse. Bugestal’s team of expert tasters evaluates each batch (separated by station, day, and quality) in the laboratory. This traceability of station, day, and quality is maintained throughout the process.

Origin

Although Burundi is a landlocked nation, it borders the giant Lake Tanganyika and its lush hills provide the perfect terroir for growing coffee. Burundi’s GDP depends almost exclusively on its coffee export, but only recently has it been recognized as a country that can produce and export the same level of quality as its northern neighbour, Rwanda. Virtually all coffees are organically grown, as local farmers do not (or cannot) invest in chemical fertilisers. They currently put their efforts into strict control of quality and equipment for the processing of cherries, as well as the production of sustainable and environmentally friendly coffee.
Kayanza is one of the regions of Burundi with the best reputation for growing coffee. Coffee farms are found in the highlands, where the soils are rich and volcanic. However, optimal growing conditions alone are not enough to produce high-quality coffees. To achieve a superior quality of coffee, it is essential to have a dedicated and skilled manager working at the washing station. This figure oversees the implementation of good economic practices and the education of coffee growers, and they collaborate with producers to ensure they have access to the necessary tools.

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