Burundi Gakenke Natural

Burundi Gakenke Natural

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Notes: Oatmeal stout, rum raisin, pineapple cake

Country: Burundi

Region: Kayanza

Varietal: Red Bourbon

Process: Natural

Altitude: 1,500 -1,800 MASL

Description: Gakenke station was built in 1991 and is now operated by Greenco, a company that oversees and structures washing stations in Kayanza province of Burundi, gives washing stations and producers support all along the production chain. They started their work in 2015, and have dominated all Cup of Excellence competitions in Burundi ever since. With 224 drying beds, the station can process up to 750 metric tons per season. The station has 2 flotation tanks, 10 fermentation tanks, and 2 soaking tanks. The drying field has 150 raised beds.

Gakenke station has 2,685 registered farmer members, spread over 22 hills in Gatare commune, Kayanza province. These are organized in groups of 30 people, headed by a producer leader to facilitate communication and organization with the washing station. The farmers typically have an average of 250 trees.

The washing station participates in a number of farmer outreach and support projects including a livestock rearing project and a range of Farmer Hub projects centered on strengthening cooperatives and improving yields.

During the harvest season, all coffee is selectively hand-picked. Most families only have 200 to 250 trees, and harvesting is done almost entirely by the family.

Quality assurance begins as soon as farmers deliver their cherry. All cherry is floated in small buckets as a first step to check quality. Greenco still purchases floaters (damaged, underripe etc.) but immediately separates the two qualities and only markets floaters as B-quality cherry. After floating, the higher quality cherry is sorted again by hand to remove all damaged, underripe and overripe cherries.

After sorting, the beans are then transported directly to the drying tables where they will dry slowly for 3-4 weeks. Cherry is laid out in a single layer. Pickers go over the drying beans for damaged or defective beans that may have been missed in previous quality checks. The washing station is very strict about allowing only the highest quality cherry to complete the drying process.