Maridadi, Burundi - MICROLOT
Location: Kayanza Province, Nort Burundi
Owner: Jean Clement Birabereya
Varietals: Red Bourbon
Altitude: 17800 - 1950 masl
In the Cup: to follow
The Mpanga washing station
Burundi is a country that continues to face immense social and political difficulties, One of the challenges for the coffee sector is government involvement as an owner and operator of the washing stations which prohibits transparency and visibility. Despite these challenges, there are a few entrepreneurs and privately owned washing stations who are working hard to improve quality. One of these is Mpanga.
Mpanga is the name of the central washing station located in Kayanza Province, Northern Burundi. It is managed by Jean-Clement Birabereya, a 15 year coffee veteran who oversaw the construction of the washing station back in 2008. The station processes coffee from approximately 3,400 smallholder farmers who cultivate coffee on the hillsides that surround Kayanza, at elevations of up to 1950 meters above sea level. To service those producers properly, Jean-Clement has ensured that the station is well equipped to process large volumes of specialty coffee and benefits from 450 drying beds and a McKinnon 6-disc pulping machine.
Mpanga processes roughly 1500 tonnes of coffee per season, with each producer lot separated and named according to the hillside upon which the coffee was grown. Under Jean-Clement's guidance, Mpanga has achieved incredible results at the Burundi Cup of Excellence. As a result of the hard work and diligence Jean-Clement has implemented, Mpanga has become highly regarded for its consistently clean and complex coffees. It is due to these cup qualities along with his focus and belief in motivating farmers meticulous harvesting and agricultural practices that Falcon have decided to work exclusively with Jean-Clement and Mpanga to source all Burundi coffees this season.
The flavour profile from the Kayanza region in Burundi is similar in many ways to the southern Rwandan coffees like Huye Mountain. In fact Huye Mountain is only about 60 miles from the Kayanza village as the crow flies. We tend to find the Kayanza coffees are more delicate in character and present more floral notes such as jasmine, rose and orange blossom.
As well as his role at Mpnaga, Jean-Clement also manages SEGEC (Societe General d'exploitation et d'exportation du Cafe) mill who handel the export of the Mpanga coffees. They are doing their best to mitigate the risk farmers face with fluctuating world coffee prices. They pay an initial fee for delivered cherry with additional bonuses based on quality once the coffee has been sorted and cupped. The lower quality coffees are blended together and sold commercially whilst the top performing lots are kept separate as microlots, Once these have been contracted and sold, SEGEC pay a premium to the producers that is a percentage of the premium SEGEC receive. SEGEC also invest heavily in farmer training to ensure the pickers and farm owners bring only the ripest cherries to the station. The bonus payment works to ensure the trainings are adhered to - they can amount to a significant portion of a producers yearly income and so are worth the effort.