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Masha, Burundi - Filter

  • Product Info

    PRODUCER: Various, Masha Washing Station

    PROCESS: Honey

    REGION: Gihororo, Kayanza

    VARIETAL: Red Bourbon

    ALTITUDE: 1672 MASL

    Tasting Notes: Red apple, apricots and Brazil nuts, sweet and juicy with creamy body.

    About The Coffee

    Masha coffee washing station shares its name with the sub-hill upon which it stands. The sub-hill is actually more famous for its cattle than its coffee. The name Masha comes from the Kirundi word “amasho”, meaning “herds of cattle”. The sub-hill has been a crossroad for many herds in the region. Many of the local herders greet each other with a unique phrase only used in this region. They say, “gira amasho”, which means “owner of cows”.

    Masha station was built in 1989. The majority of farmers who deliver cherry are subsistence farmers. Farmers intercrop their trees with food crops and other cash crops to feed and support their families.

    The Region

    Burundi has long been overlooked in comparison to its neighbouring East African specialty coffee producing powerhouses. Burundi’s coffee is produced almost entirely by smallholder farmers, and much of this small-scale production is of exceptional quality. With its super sweet, clean and often floral coffees, Burundi, every year, is increasingly is putting itself on the specialty coffee map. 

    Coffee is of paramount importance to families and the country at large. Considering this, improving and expanding coffee infrastructure is not just a way to improve incomes, it is a way to revolutionise the earning potential of an entire nation.

    Building washing stations and expanding agricultural extension work can be great ways to improve coffee quality. Washing stations are pivotal in improving cup profile standards and the global reputation of Burundian coffee. 

    Both state-owned and private actors drive Burundi’s coffee industry and play key roles as washing station management companies and exporters. State-owned companies are called Sogestals, short for “Sociétés de Gestions des Stations de Lavage” (Washing station management companies). Privately-owned companies can operate under a variety of different names.

    The Process

    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 its quality. After floating, the higher quality cherry is sorted again by hand to remove all damaged, underripe and overripe cherries.

    After sorting, cherry is pulped within 6 hours of delivery. During pulping, cherry is separated into high- and low-grade by density. The coffee and remaining mucilage is then transported to the drying tables where they will dry slowly for 2 to 3 weeks, during which time it is repeatedly sorted and raked to ensure even drying. The coffee is left to dry from sunrise to sunset and is covered with a sheet during the evening or when it rains. The moisture level is carefully monitored and any parchment with visual defects is removed.

    Once dry, the parchment is bagged and taken to the warehouse.

    Before shipment, coffee is sent to Budeca, Burundi’s largest dry mill. The coffee is milled and hand sorted by a team of hand-pickers who look closely at every single bean to ensure zero defects. It takes a team of two hand-pickers a full day to look over a single bag. UV lighting is also used on the beans and any bean that glows (which is usually an indication of a defect) is removed. The mill produces an average of 300 containers of 320 bags per year.