This Kirezi lot consists of a regional selection from the Ngozi province in northern Burundi.
Coffee cultivation mostly takes place in the hills from 1600 to 1800 masl. Ngozi and Kayanza provinces are regarded as Burundi’s highest potential coffee growing regions. The red soils are fertile and the regions receive plenty of rainfall during the growing season. The region has a mild climate with average temperatures between 18 and 25°, depending on the altitude.
Greenco has been working very hard with its washing stations, staff and producers to improve the quality of the coffee produced in Ngozi and Kayanza. The washing stations distribute seedlings for tree renovation, as well as fertilizer and other farming inputs. Each washing station is managed by an agronomist. They organize farming training in farmer groups, teach good agricultural practices on farm demo plots and watch over the coffee processing. Next to that, they have also developed programs for economic development together with sustainability organization Kahawatu.
The Kirezi lot packs a great fruity punch with berries, citrus and a structured acidity. The cup has a rounded mouthfeel and forward juicy sweetness.
Greenco has 5 washing stations in total in the Ngozi province: Nkaka, Nzove, Kagoma, Kinyana and Rugori. They all produce coffee in different quality ranges. In one range, there are the thoroughly selected microlots with exceptional profiles, even of Cup of Excellence standard (all four stations except Kinyana won in Cup of Excellence in 2017).
Most of this selection takes place at the washing station’s grading channel, and at the cupping table of Greenco’s lab afterwards. Greenco’s washing stations separate the qualities on 5 different parchment grades, depending on their density. The result of this are the greatly finetuned qualities for which we love working with them.
Coffee processing – cherry intake
All Greenco washing stations apply the same quality standards for cherry reception and processing. At intake, the quality managers will inspect the cherries through flotation and on cherry sorting tables. All damaged cherries are removed. Because you can see most of the insect damage on the cherries, these steps greatly help reduce the incidence of PTD. The station’s selection manager has to approved each selection before it can move on to intake. Lastly, at the intake point, the accountant registers the sorted weight of the cherries under the producer’s profile. The weighing officer will check the quality one last time by dumping a sample in a bucket of water. Finally, they weigh and dump the approved cherries in the cherry hopper. Each farmer receives a receipt for the weight of the cherries he delivered. Every day lot can be traced back to all producers who contributed part of the lot.
Processing – fermentation
The cherries are poured from the reception tanks into the pulping machine which removes the cherry skin and part of the mucilage on the bean. It also separates the beans by high and low-grade quality. The pulping process will only begin once 1 ton of cherries or more is in the reception tanks. The pulper is the only machine that is used in the processing of the coffee. Every other process is done by hand. The machine can process up to 3 tons of cherries per hour. After pulping, the beans are left in fermentation tanks to ferment for at least 10 to 12 hours (aerobic fermentation). A small sign on the fermentation tank keeps track of each lot. The sign mentions the washing station name, date of cherry purchase, grade of the bean and the time when fermentation began.
When the fermentation is complete, the mucilage water is drained from the tank into the mucilage canal. The beans are referred to as ‘parchment’ at this stage because they still have a thin protective skin. The station workers trample the parchment for 30 minutes in the fermentation tank. This trampling process helps to remove mucilage on the fermented parchment. After this, the parchment is given fresh water to move it into the washing-grading canal, where it is washed.
Processing – washing
In the washing-grading canal, there are two wooden barriers that separate the parchment by density. The higher grade parchment is denser and will sink to the bottom of the canal while the lower grade parchment is less dense and will float. The latter gets drained with the water to the end of the canal. Workers push the parchment through the channels to create friction. After washing, this parchment is poured onto wooden trays or nylon bags and carried to the drying tables, each in its separate quality group. Each tray and nylon bag of parchment keeps its traceability tag with all info.
Processing – drying
The parchment is placed on 20m long raised tables to dry under natural sunlight. Usually, each table holds 800kg of parchment. In the peak of the season, the maximum load for a table is 1000kg. Each table has a traceability tag with the lot info. The parchment is left to dry from sunrise to sunset and is covered with a sheet during the evening or when it rains. If the weather conditions are good, the parchment takes on average 10 to 14 days to dry. During this time it is stirred regularly. The moisture level is carefully monitored and any parchment with visual defects is removed.
Once it has fully dried and the right moisture level is reached, the workers remove the parchment from the drying tables. Both the high and low-grade coffee that is milled in Ngozi has to reach a moisture level of 12.5%. The parchment is then put in bags and taken to the washing station storeroom. When the storeroom is full, the coffee is moved to the dry mill where it is kept until the end of the season when it is finally exported. After milling, the coffee is handpicked at the dry mill to remove any defects after milling. The coffee passes an additional screening under UV light to take our further inequalities.