March Coffee of the Month~Buziraguhindwa

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March 24, 2016 by beanerbar

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Story

The tiny village of Buziraguhindwa has built quite a reputation for quality over the last few years. The owner of the town’s washing station, Ramadhan Salum, has an infectious drive and energy to create great small lots that are some of the best in the country. This year’s coffee is a balance of sweet and savory notes accentuated by stone fruit and citrus tones.

Although Burundi has been growing coffee for decades, great-tasting coffee arriving in the US is a recent development. This was due to years of civil war, and up until very recently the coffee industry was state-controlled with limited focus on quality. In 2010, a few years after the market was privatized by the government, we met Ramadhan Salum who was building the washing station Buziraguhindwa. We immediately fell in love with the area, believed in the team at the washing station, and committed to the coffee before the washing station produced a single bean. Now five years later, Ramdhan continues to experiment and work on projects to kept improving his coffee.

Although Burundi has been growing coffee for decades, great-tasting coffee arriving in the US is a recent development. This was due to years of civil war, and up until very recently the coffee industry was state-controlled with limited focus on quality. In 2010, a few years after the market was privatized by the government, we met Ramadhan Salum who was building the washing station Buziraguhindwa. We immediately fell in love with the area, believed in the team at the washing station, and committed to the coffee before the washing station produced a single bean. Now five years later, Ramdhan continues to experiment and work on projects to kept improving his coffee.

Cooperative’s History

Coffee Processing Company (CPC) is a private company owned by Ramadhan Salum. He owns a few hectares of coffee in different locations around Kayanza and the Buziraguhindwa washing station. Ramadhan is the sole owner and he is working towards more transparent systems—with the help of producer associations in the area around Buziraguhindwa—and, like last year, committed to paying 20% more than average for the coffee cherry he receives.

In 2012, Counter Culture and CPC were able to fund the building of 3 classrooms in the immensely overcrowded school that is right next to the washing station. Our hope for the future is that the 13 Associations (260 members) continue to grow and, eventually, include everyone (around 2,000-3,000 producers) who turns in coffee to the washing station. The long-term goal is that the associations become a fully registered cooperative and can work more as equal partners with CPC and Counter Culture.

Explanation of the Name

Buziraguhindwa is the name of the Colline (hillside) and village that the washing station was built in. Most washing stations, especially in East Africa, are named in this fashion. Buziraguhindwa roughly means “never retreat.” This hillside is famous for warriors who lived here long ago. Buzira “never” guhindwa (guhinda : infinitive) “make someone go back”.

Place

Kayanza, Burundi
Kayanza is a province in the Northwest of Burundi, and, for Counter Culture, has always had the best coffees we have tasted from the country. This area is not only known for coffee, but also for its tea production.

Buziraguhindwa itself is one of the highest areas in the country for coffee production, with the washing station sitting right at 1,896 meters. This area is also right off the Kibira National Park, which is home to all sorts of wildlife—including monkeys and birds—and has been a forest preserve for almost 100 years.

Notes

Varieties: Bourbon, Mbirizi, Jackson
Elevation: 1,900 meters
Post-Harvest Process: Washed
Harvest Time: April 2014 – July 2014

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