This coffee comes from the Mugirampeke Central Washing Station. It is a fully washed coffee, of the Red Bourbon variety. Grown at between 1500 – 1800 metres above sea level, the coffee comes from multiple local smallholder farms that the CWS serves.


The washing station

There are 1,607 smallholders who deliver their cherry to this Central Washing Station. The washing station was built in 1991, and these days farmers from 12 neighbouring hills contribute their cherry to it. The station is managed by a guy called Daniel Niyonzima; he oversees everything, and is also in charge of the sustainability of the washing station. This washing station can process up to 1,200 metric tonnes of cherry per season. To put that into perspective, your average elephant weighs about one metric tonne. Mugirampeke CWS also works hard to involve themselves with farmer outreach and support projects, in order to help out their local farmers as much as possible.


The region

In Burundi, all coffee trees are of the Red Bourbon variety. The government controls this pretty tightly so that they can preserve the quality of coffee that’s being grown there, as it’s so easy for varieties to get contaminated. As farmers only have small plots to farm, it’s often difficult for them to take old trees out of production in order to plant new ones, which will take a few years to yield. So Mugirampeke CWS produces seedlings, and works with initiatives that sell seedlings to farmers at or below cost, allowing them to renew their plantings.


The coffee

Coffee arrived in Burundi in the 1940s thanks to the Belgian colonial government, when they made coffee growing mandatory. Years later when they withdrew, a lot of farmers stopped tending their coffee trees, but others realised the economic advantages of continuing to grow coffee, and the industry became central to Burundi’s economy. Now, there are two million smallholders producing more than 80% of Burundi’s coffee exports, which is almost a fifth of the entire population producing coffee.