About this coffee
Gahahe washing station is located in Gahahe, Kayanza Commune in Kayanza province. The washing station lies at 1,805 meters above sea level. The washing station is equipped with 10 fermentation tanks, 4 cherry selectiontables, 2 soaking tanks and a drying field with 180 drying tables, and 18 pre-drying tables and can process up to750 metric tonnes of cherry per season.
The washing station participates in a number of farmer outreach and support projects including a livestock rearing project and a range of Farmer Hub projects centered on strengthening cooperatives and improving yields.
Many trees in Burundi are Red Bourbon. Because of the increasingly small size of coffee plantings, aging rootstock is a very big issue in Burundi. Many farmers have trees that are over 50 years old, but with small plots to farm, it is difficult to justify taking trees entirely out of production for the 3-4 years it will take new plantings tobegin to yield. In order to encourage farmers to renovate their plantings, Bugestal purchases seeds from the Institut des Sciences Agronomiques du Burundi (ISABU), establishes nurseries and sells the seedlings to farmers at or below cost. At the washing station, farmers can also get organic fertilizer derived from composted coffee pulp.
Despite the ubiquity of coffee growing in Burundi, each smallholder producers a relatively small harvest. The average smallholder has approximately 250 trees, normally in their backyards. Each tree yields an average of 1.5 kilos of cherry so the average producer sells about 200-300 kilos of cherry annually.
Harvest & post-harvest
During the harvest season, all coffee is selectively hand-picked. Most families only have 200 to 250 trees, and harvesting is done almost entirely by the family.
Quality assurance begins as soon as farmers deliver their cherry. Cherries is wet-processed under constant supervision. The pulping, fermentation time, washing, grading in the channels and a final soaking are all closely monitored. All cherry is floated in small buckets as a first step to check quality. Greenco still purchases floaters (damaged, underripe, etc) but immediately separates the two qualities and only markets floaters as B-quality cherry. After floating, the higher quality cherry is sorted again by hand to remove all damaged, underripe and overripe cherries.
After sorting, cherry is pulped within 6 hours of delivery. The coffee is then dry fermented for up to 12 hours and then washed in clean mountain water for 12 to 24 hours.
Parchment is then soaked for an additional 12-18 hours before being dried on raised beds for 2 to 3 weeks.