Burundi - Kirema
KIREMA WASHING STATION
BOURBON, JACKSON, MIBIRIZI
In the middle of central Africa, just south of Rwanda, lies the tiny country of Burundi. Measuring in at just under 11,000 square miles (barely the size of Maryland) this lesser known nation produces some of the most sought after lots in all of Africa. Coffee’s from Burundi are praised for possessing the complexity associated with Kenyan coffee, along with versatility of top rated Colombian lots.
Historically speaking, coffee production has been somewhat of a roller coaster in Burundi. While colonized by Belgium (1924 - 1962) growing quotas were placed on farmers in Burundi in order to feed the demand for coffee by Europeans in other colonies. They received very little money or recognition for their work, and by the time Burundi gained its independence in the 1960s many had already abandoned the coffee trade.
A tumultuous period of civil war in the 1990s devastated Burundi’s economy, and in result coffee farming emerged as a means to bolster the agrarian sector and increase foreign exchange. The people of Burundi were inspired by neighboring Rwanda’s success in rebuilding through coffee, and the early 2000s brought an influx of investment. The country has been able to maintain a healthy balance of both privately and state run coffee facilities that have created opportunity and stability, allowing Burundi to quickly establish itself as an emerging coffee growing nation.
Farm / Washing Station
Like many neighboring countries, Burundi produces micro-lots almost by default. Large coffee estates, like those you see in central and south America, do not exist there. The average farmer in Burundi owns less than one hectare (2.47 acres) of land, and sells their coffee cherries to centralized washing stations. Micro- lots from many farmers are processed together, in order to create lots large enough for export.
This purchasing system makes it essentially impossible to arrive at single-producer, single-farm, or single- variety lots; instead, coffees are typically sold under the name of the washing station they are delivered to. Fortunately, there are 160 stations within Burundi’s prominent growing regions, making traceability and distinction between lots much easier.
Kirema is one of the 21 washing stations within the region of Kayanza, a northern territory on the border of Rwanda. Despite the similarities that Northern Burundi and Southern Rwanda share with regard to varieties, processing, and farmer profile, the two areas produce vastly different cups.
Coffees from the Kirema Washing Station are heralded for their sparkling acidity, fruitful berry notes, and wonderfully juicy mouth feel; a product of the area’s beautiful and diverse terroir.