SHEMBATI GATABO #2, Burundi FILTER juicy & sweet, boiled sweet, redcurrant, apple


SHEMBATI GATABO #2, Burundi FILTER juicy & sweet, boiled sweet, redcurrant, apple

from 9.50

Producer: Small-holder farmers of Gatabo Hill & community

Washing station: Shembati

Region: Kayanza Province
Altitude: 1800 masl

Varietal: Red Bourbon
Process: Fully washed, pre-dried in shade & sun-dried on raised beds

Importer: Nordic Approach

Cup profile: Juicy & complex, boiled sweets, redcurrant, apple

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Shembati is one of four washing stations built and owned by producer Salum Ramadhan. It was built in 2016 in the hills of Butaganzwa commune in the Kayanza province. It is managed by Ame Patrick and receives around 700 tons of cherry per season from small-holder farmers in its vicinity. As of this year, it has been made possible to separate out lots down to the very hill-side the coffee comes from and Gatabo refers to the name of the hill and the local community that grew this coffee.

Salum is quality driven and very detail oriented. He spends a lot of time training local staff, ensuring a great loyal workforce. He also runs a transport business which helps with logistics on the ground when it comes to getting coffee ready for export promptly and ensuring their freshness. Aside from the coffee business, Salum also invests in local social and environmental projects such as education in local areas or building ponds for waste water.

The main harvest in Burundi runs from March through to end of July. Cherries are usually harvested by small-holder family members themselves and brought to a washing station on foot, bicycle or collected by a truck depending on location. The farmers are free to deliver to whoever offers the best price and so it is essential for washing stations to maintain good relationships and offer premium prices for good quality cherries. To attract farmers with best quality cherry, Shembati pays premiums well above market prices for selectively picked and sorted cherry.

To ensure great quality of final product, Shembati has a strict sorting process applied at every step of the way from cherry reception through to all stages of processing. Traditional wet processing in Burundi often involves double fermentation (dry & with water), this is very labour intensive and produces a lot of waste water. At Shembati they decided to adjust this process to reduce water usage and labour and increase capacity. After de-pulping, coffee is fermented for 12 hours without water, then it is washed and graded in channels before being soaked in clean water for 12-18 hours. From there it goes to be pre-dried in shade and finally it is sun-dried on raised beds for 15-20 days.

Coffees from Burundi can have a bad reputation due to possible occurrence of the “potato” defect, caused by a fungus, giving an off-flavour to the cup, reminiscent of raw potato. However, with good agronomic practices, meticulous sorting and careful processing the presence of potato defect drops significantly and the wonderfully complex fruity notes and intense sweetness comes through in the cup as it does in this juicy and clean lot.