Small Name Big Coffee: Burundi Kibingo

Photo by 32Cup, our Green Coffee Partner

Photo by 32Cup, our Green Coffee Partner

Coffee is a seasonal product and smaller lots enter the market once a year after harvesting and processing has been done. Then buying season is on and we need to buy the coffee we predict we will use within the following year until the fresh crop is up for buying. Luckily, different origins have different harvesting and selling seasons and this allows us to explore new coffees and offer them to you. With our fruity filter, which is mainly a Kenyan coffee and lasts until sometime in spring, we like to substitute with a coffee from Burundi until the fresh Kenyan arrives in summer.

Coffee from Burundi has everything we look for in an African coffee: It has intense fruity flavors, punchy and lively acidity and a nicely textured body. Quality wise, it doesn’t have to hide from nearby Kenya but still it doesn’t have a big name. Those who explore this origin though will be rewarded with very tasty coffees!

Coffee cultivation started in Burundi in the early 1930ies when Belgian Colonialists introduced the first Arabica trees to the country. It has been an important part of the country’s economy ever since.

After several years of conflict Burundi returned to the development of its coffee industry in the mid-2000s when privatization and liberalization opened up the coffee industry. Smallholder producers started organizing into cooperatives to raise the quality of their coffee and to bring it to the international coffee market.

Burundi has been a part of the Cup of Excellence program since 2012 and Kibingo Central Washing Station (CWS) has contributed some award-winning lots.

The Kibingo CWS is located in the town of Kayanza in northern Burundi. The washing station lies at 1893 masl while the farms where the coffee is cultivated lie at altitudes between 1700 and 1900 masl in the surrounding 18 hills. Kibingo CWS has 3553 registered farmers with each cultivating an average of 284 trees. Together that’s around one million coffee trees.

Kibingo CWS has collection centres that facilitate the outreach to farmers: Thanks to these collection centres, the farmers don’t have to sell their cherries to middlemen who transport the coffee or needn’t travel too far with a heavy load of cherries. Shorter distances also help preserve quality. 

Kibingo CWS has 10 fermentation and 2 soaking tanks and a drying field with 165 drying tables. The washing station can process 750’000 kg of coffee cherries per day.

The washing station reconverts coffee pulp to organic fertilizer which farmers can obtain. To promote farm renovation, producers can get coffee seedlings at the washing station which are grown in their own nursery.