This is a story about a boy and the bamboo reeds’ spirit who gave human form to. The grateful creature still preserves him and his people from natural forces and delivers Kibingo; buttery and smooth wonder with orange and plummy hint.
The Kibingo central washing station is located in the commune of Kayanza in northern Burundi. The station itself lies at 1893 m.a.s.l. The altitude of the farms in the neighbouring hills that supply the washing station varies from 1700 to 1900 m.a.s.l.
Kayanza is one of Burundi’s regions with the best coffee growing reputation. Coffee farms lie in the highlands, where soils are rich and volcanic, but optimal growing conditions alone aren’t enough to produce a high-quality coffee. To achieve a top coffee, a skilled and dedicated washing station manager is essential. They oversee the implementation of good economic practice and farmer education and collaborate with the producers to ensure they have access to the necessary tools. They also help farmers determine and implement the practices best suited to the specific growing conditions of their plantations.
3553 registered farmer members spread over 18 hills in Kayanza province. All producers are registered at Greenco washing station and are organized in groups of 30 people, headed by a farm leader. This leader acts as spokesman to facilitate communication and organization with the washing station.
Greenco is a company that oversees and structures washing stations in Kayanza province of Burundi. It gives the washing stations and producers support all along the production chain. They started their work in 2015 and have dominated the burundian Cup Of Excellence competitions ever since! Currently, Greenco has 13 washing stations all located in Kayanza and Ngozi provinces in the north of Burundi. Greenco’s overall impact through these 13 central washing stations extends to over 40’000 coffee-producing households. The producers receive farm support from Greenco’s managers, who are all young engineers in agronomy.
Working with young graduates has proved to have various advantages. They can all work with computer systems. It seems like a detail for us, but this greatly simplifies the flow of information between the washing stations and Greenco. Also, they have a fresh and systematic approach to coffee production and processing, with up-to-date knowledge about farming practices. The agronomists received additional training from the ONG Kahawatu on best agricultural practices (BAP). Off-season, they provide agronomist assistance to the roughly 4000 farmers who deliver cherries to Greenco CWS to prepare for the next harvest.
Next to improving quality and productivity, Greenco strives to improve socio-economic and environmental conditions around the washing stations. All of their washing stations have UTZ and 4C certification. One of their focus points is building an efficient supply chain around the washing stations. Greenco is buying 93% of its cherries directly from farmers via collection centres. This way, they improve farm-gate price to the producers.
Another socio-economic challenge Greenco addresses is Burundi’s high rate of youth unemployment. The national youth unemployment rate is almost 50%. At Greenco, young graduates receive a decent salary and benefits (house, motorbike, healthcare) as well as real career prospects.
Adding to the training on farming practices, Greenco organizes training for farmer groups on various social aspects. Coffee families learn about gender equality, financial planning, family planning, breastfeeding, etc.
On an environmental side, Greenco has equipped all washing stations with water treatment facilities, solar panels and batteries. The solar panels provide energy for computers, lighting and smartphones.
The Kibingo washing station is equipped wit 10 fermentation tanks, 2 soaking tanks and drying field with 165 drying tables and 4 pre-drying tables. Kibingo can process 750’000 Kg of cherries per day.
At cherry intake, a picking team sorts the cherries on maturity. This is essential for a fine processing, with less damaged beans. The cherry skins are mechanically removed during pulping. Next, the sticky parchment will dry ferment for 12 hours. When fermentation is complete, the parchment goes down the washing station and grading channel. Finally, the top quality coffee soaks for an additional 24 hours to remove any remaining mucilage before going to the pre-drying tables. Here, the second team of pickers checks the wet parchment to take out defect beans. After a couple of hours, the parchment is moved to the drying tables. Depending on the weather conditions, it will reach 12% moisture content in about two weeks.
ABOUT The Roaster
BIRCHBACH is a nano specialty coffee roastery based in Zurich, Switzerland; inspired by modern simplicity, fascinated by the little things in life and driven by the ideal of “quality over quantity”.
One person’s project with the intention of develop a coffee roastery that shares this ideal, roasting super-sweet high-quality coffee and telling you the story behind in an approachable and unpretentious way.
BIRCHBACH’s coffees showcase themselves in a clean, aromatic, super-sweet and friendly cup; not too complex to understand, nevertheless with distinctive flavors in it.