Burundi Butegana Intenso Dry Natural
Burundi Butegana Intenso Dry Natural
Variety： Red Bourbon
Altitude： 1,300 -1,600 masl
Processing： Yeast Inoculated (Intenso) Dry Natural
Our Impression： Grape | Blackcurrant | Mango | Raisin Chocolate
About this coffee
Butegana is among the first washing stations built in Burundi. Built in 1952, it was named “Butegana”, which means “to be trapped” because Rwandan soldiers were once trapped in the valley by the Burundian army. This Intenso Anaerobic Natural from Butegana washing station is anaerobically fermented to bring out bright, fruity flavors.
During the rule of King Mwambutsa, the Prince Baranyanka had the station constructed to take advantage of the abundant coffee plants in the region. Strategically, the station was built to be shared between two hills. All the station’s buildings are on one hill, Shikankoni, and all the drying tables are on the other, Nkuba.
Most coffee trees in Burundi are Red Bourbon. Because of the increasingly small size of coffee plantings, aging rootstock is a very big issue in Burundi. Many farmers have trees that are over 50 years old, but with small plots to farm, it is difficult to justify taking trees entirely out of product for the 3-4 years it will take new plantings to begin to yield. In order to encourage farmers to renovate their plantings, Greenco purchases seeds from the Institut des Sciences Agronomiques du Burundi (ISABU), establishes nurseries and sells the seedlings to farmers at or below cost. At the washing station, farmers can also get organic fertilizer from reconverted coffee pulp.
Despite the ubiquity of coffee growing in Burundi, each smallholder producers a relatively small harvest. The average smallholder has approximately 250 trees, normally in their backyards. Each tree yields an average of 1.5 kilos of cherry so the average producer sells about 200-300 kilos of cherry annually.
First, cherry is selectively hand-harvested by individual smallholder producers and delivered to Kibingo station. At intake, washing station employees hand select ripe, red cherry and then float cherry to remove any under-ripes.
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.
Cherry is placed in containers and Intenso yeast purchased from the French company Lalcafe is added. The cherry is left to ferment in this environment for approximately 36 hours.
LALCAFÉ INTENSO™ yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) was specially developed for coffee production over a four-year period of research and trials. Trials in various regions and environments showed that Intenso is well suited to better control the wet process’ efficiency and to upgrade the cup quality. The yeast is able to control the fermentation process against the risk of spoilage micro-organisms that can generate undesirable defects. Furthermore, its specific metabolism and high capacity even at cold temperatures (minimum 15°C inside the coffee tank) allow for the expression of fresh and fruity characteristics of the coffee beans while respecting the unique flavors of each lot.
The longer fermentation time for yeast processed coffees (washed processed typically ferments for about 12 hours) also allows for more developed flavors. The extra time enables the beans to absorb metabolites, which can enhance flavors. Complexity, acidity, brightness, floral notes and more are all boosted by the lengthened fermentation time.
Cherry is laid on raised beds to dry. While drying, cherry is repeatedly sorted and sifted to ensure even drying. Cherry 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 cherry takes on average 10 to 14 days to dry. The moisture level is carefully monitored and any parchment with visual defects is removed.
Once dry, the dry cherry is then bagged and taken to the warehouse.
The average cherry buying price for Greenco in 2019 was significantly above average. Washing stations make the first payment to farmers between 15-30 June. The second payment comes later in the summer. If the coffee wins a competition or sells for extremely high specialty prices, Greenco gives another payment approximately a year after the harvest season.
Once dry, the parchment coffee is then bagged and taken to the warehouse. Greenco’s team of expert cuppers assess every lot (which are separated by station, day and quality) at the lab. The traceability of the station, day and quality is maintained throughout the entire process.
Before shipment, coffee is sent to Budeca, Burundi’s largest dry mill. The coffee is milled and then 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 beans that glows—usually an indication of a defect—is removed.
The mill produces an average of 300 containers of 320 bags per year. Budeca is located in Burundi’s new capital city, Gitega. The city has a population of around 30,000 people. Since there are approximately 3,000 people working at the mill, mostly as hand pickers, this means that Budeca employs nearly 10% of the total population in Gitega for at least half the year (during the milling season). The same is true in the provinces of Ngozi and Kayanza, where Greenco and Bugestal are the first employers in the region during the coffee harvest season. This has an incalculable impact on a country like Burundi, with unemployment rates above 50%, especially in rural areas and among young people.
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. Currently, Greenco has 13 washing stations all located in Kayanza in the north of Burundi. The producers receive support from the Greenco CWS managers, who are all agronomic engineers. Greenco’s overall impact through these 13 central washing stations (CWS) extends to over 15,210 coffee producing households.
Greenco works with young agronomy graduates to provide farmer training and manage washing stations. Young graduates are particularly well suited for the work with Greenco because they can all work with computer systems, greatly simplifying 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 NGO Kahawatu Foundation on best agricultural practices (BAP). Off season, they provide agronomy assistance to the roughly 15,210 farmers who deliver cherries to Greenco CWS to prepare for the next harvest.
Another socio-economic challenge that Greenco addresses is 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.
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 CWS. Greenco is buying 93% of its cherries directly from farmers via collection centers. This way, they improve farm-gate price to the producers.
In addition to providing training on farming practices, Greenco organizes trainings for farmer groups about various social aspects. Coffee families learn about gender equality, financial planning, family planning and more.
Environmental stewardship is of paramount importance to Greenco. They have equipped all washing stations with water treatment facilities and solar panels and batteries. The station has ponds to purify the wastewater from processing before flowing back in the river network. The solar panels provide energy for computers, lighting and smartphones.
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