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Plantation mill: Kibingo
Altitude: 1700 – 1900 masl
Flavor profile: sour cherry pie, lychee, chocolate
Kibingo central washing station
The Kibingo central washing station is located in the commune of Kayanza in northern Burundi. The station itself lies at 1893 meters above sea level. The altitude of the farms in the neighbouring hills that supply the washing station varies from 1700 to 1900 meters above sea level. Kibingo services 3553 registered coffee growers, spread over 18 hills in the area. In 2016, all these producers together had 1 010 062 trees. That’s 284 trees on average per producer.
The washing station is equipped with 10 fermentation tanks, 2 soaking tanks and a drying field with 165 drying tables and 4 pre-drying tables. Kibingo can process 750 000kg of cherry per day.
At cherry intake, a picking team sorts the cherries on maturity. The quality of a specialty grade natural stands or falls with the attention paid to the cherry selection at the station, to begin with. Equally important is the dedication of the washing station staff to regularly turn the cherries. Producing natural coffees requires a lot of capacity in the drying field. Since the cherries need to dry in thin layers to prevent mould growth, a batch of natural coffee requires much more table space for a longer period. For this reason, and to reduce the risk of unforeseen rains, Kibingo only produces natural coffees at the end of the season, when less producers deliver coffee at the station. It can take up to 3 weeks for the cherries to dry down.
Kayanza is one of Burundi’s regions with the best coffee growing reputation. Coffee farms lie in the highlands, where soils are rich and volcanic. But optimal growing conditions alone aren’t enough to produce a high-quality coffee. To achieve a top coffee, a skilled and dedicated washing station manager is essential. They oversee the implementation of good economic practice and farmer education and collaborate with the producers to ensure they have access to the necessary tools. They also help farmers determine and implement the practices best suited to the specific growing conditions of their plantations.
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