About Burundi Kibingo Washing Station
Arrived early June, new crop in Grainpro. This is our first time offering coffee from the Kibingo Washing Station, located in Kayanza Province, near the border with Rwanda. The washing station was built in 1986, and currently collects coffee cherries from over 3,500 local farmers. It lies at an altitude of 1893 meters or 6200 feet, close to the Congo-Nile Crest. The washing station is known for its wooden bridge that was built over the river that runs through it. The name 'Kibingo' comes from the Kirundi word urubingo which means 'reeds'. Reeds were planted along the river to contain the water and to prevent the surrounding soils from eroding.
Coffee in Burundi is mainly grown on small farms which do not process the cherry themselves, but rather, bring it to the local washing station. The best run stations pay more for quality cherry, meaning they are all fully ripe, well developed and brought from the farm rapidly to be immediately processed. This is perhaps most evident at Kibingo Washing Station, whose coffees have placed in the top 10 of the Cup of Excellence competition in 2017, 2015 and 2013, and won 1st Place in 2017. While this offering comes from other farmers and lots at the washing station, we feel there is still evidence of this care and attention to coffee quality.
In Burundi the majority of coffee is grown by subsistance farmers. In fact, about 800,000 families in this small country of only 9 million people are involved with the industry; it accounts for 80 percent of Burundi's export revenue. Almost all of the coffee grown is Arabica, and of the Bourbon varietal. Farmers grow crops for their own food supply, but also grow some cash crops (like coffee). Most individual farmshave between 50 and 250 trees, only enough for a couple of sacks of coffee in total. The coffee, once picked, has to be rushed to the washing station.
Burundi has a unique coffee processing tradition, where coffee cherries are pulped and "dry fermented" for up to 12 hours before being fully washed with clean mountian water, anywhere between 12 and 24 hours. Finally the beans are soaked for an additional 12 to 18 hours before being dried in parchment on raised beds. This process, in addition to the high elevation where the coffee is grown, leads to a clean, high quality cup.