In addition to operating nine washing stations and producing incredible coffee, Bugestal also works with communities to increase farmer livelihoods and equality in coffee producing areas. Coming from small farms between 1500-1800m above sea level, this natural is very exciting.
This washing station has a particularly interesting history. As coffee became the main crop of the region, it was known as ‘the precious cherry’, and it quickly became most people’s primary livelihood. Prince Bigaympunzi of Burundi played a key role in building coffee farming in the region - his efforts allowed coffee to become the primary source of income for most people in the region. The construction of Gihere CWS has enabled local coffee-growing families to sell cherry at fair prices, avoiding processing and labour time which allows them to focus on other endeavours. Like all washing stations we support, Gihere participates in many farmer outreach and support programmes.
Natural processed coffees are less common in Burundi and require strict quality control. All cherry is floated in small buckets, and cherry is immediately separated into two qualities. The higher quality is hand sorted again to remove any damaged or underripe cherry. Beans are then transported to be dried for 3-4 weeks, and pickers go over drying beans checking for defective beans. The CWS is incredible strict about only allowing the highest quality cherry to complete the drying process.