We have been blown away by the citrus forward acidity, tart cherry flavour, very full body and creamy texture of this coffee. Here’s some background from our coffee buyer Wendy about our experiences with this coffee to date:
I have been looking forward to my return to Burundi for several months. I fell in love with the coffee from Mahonda washing station when I was on the International Jury for Burundi’s inaugural Cup of Excellence competition in August of 2012. We won the lot we were after in the auction, and once the coffee arrived, we knew we wanted this coffee to have a permanent place in our line up.
Fast-forward to February when I was in East Africa again attending the annual Africa Fine Coffee Association Convention held this year in Kampala, Uganda. I met with Béde and Samuel of Sogestal Kirimiro, and they agreed to take me to visit the washing station directly following the conference. It was a quick trip, just enough time to meet the station manager, and do a quick audit of their bookkeeping practices, in order to determine if we could easily implement a second payment to farmers for delivering quality by day lots.
Burundi is currently ranked as the worlds 3rd poorest country. With 80% of the country’s annual export earnings coming from coffee, impacting over 50% of the population, or 750,000 families, finding a transparent way to reward producers for the quality we require was the only way we would be able to move forward with a partnership. We reached a gentleman’s agreement with a handshake, which gave the managers confidence in being able to keep the cherry price high through the season and be competitive.
One of the most challenging things about the coffee sector in Burundi is the extreme cyclical nature of the crop. They alternate between boom and bust from year to year. Last year was a boom year, with exports reaching over 30,000 tons. This year it is predicted that exports won’t reach over 9,000 tons. The impact this has on the economy is obviously huge.
After having completed the pre-selection on the ground with cuppers from Burundi, I am now back at my lab in Sydney making our final selections. The coffees will be combined, bagged and tagged, trucked to Dar es Salaam where they will await a position on an ocean liner bound for Sydney.
It will be several months before this new harvest arrives… but do not fret… because we have Cup of Excellence #3 harvest to keep us delighted in the meantime. Be sure to try this very special coffee!