Although Burundi has been growing coffee for decades and the facilities to process great tasting coffees were already established, great-tasting coffee arriving in the US is a recent development. This was mainly due to the fact that the coffee industry was state-controlled until just a few years ago, with little to no separation for quality. With that coming to an end we knew this was a country on the verge of great change, and since, have been working closely with farmers, millers, and traders in Burundi to discover the greatness these coffees can posses.
When the government changeover for coffee practices happened in 2007, we kept our eyes peeled and two-and-a-half years later, we were the first to recognize the potential of a company called the Coffee Processing Company (CPC). At first, the owners, Ramadhan Salam and Aime Charles Buhire, wanted to set up a dry mill to process coffee, but instead they decided to start with a few small 2-hectare farms and a small washing station named Buziraguhindwa. The washing station at Buziraguhindwa, owned by CPC, was completed in the Spring of 2010.
At this point, we have worked every year with CPC and the Buziraguhindwa washing station, with moments of great success and a few challenges along the way. This past year, though, was by far the best year. Ramadhan, the owner, along with washing station manager Silas, were able to deliver the great cherry selection and refined the processing to exemplary standards. We worked together and purchased two separate lots from the washing station this year. The first lot we will offer is the coffee from the farmers in the village of Buziraguhindwa that carry their coffee cherry to the washing station, and the second is coffee processed at the Buziraguhindwa washing station, but comes from the community of Mbirinzi that is delivered by truck. The future of this coffee has no limits and Ramadhan, we are convinced, has and will continue to set the bar for quality and innovation in Burundi.
Coffee Processing Company (CPC) is a private company owned by Ramadhan Salam and Aime Charles Buhire. They own a few hectares of coffee and the Buziraguhindwa washing station. Ramadhan and Aime are the sole owners, but they are working towards more transparent systems with the help of producer associations in the area around Buziraguhindwa and, this year, committed to paying 20% more than average for the coffee. Counter Culture and CPC also were able to fund the building of three classrooms in the immensely-overcrowded school that is right next to the washing station. Our hope for the future is that the thirteen associations (about 260 members) continue to grow and, eventually, include everyone (around 2,000-3,000 producers) who turns in coffee to the washing station.
Explanation of the Name
Buziraguhindwa is the name of the colline (hillside) that the washing station is situated on. Most washing stations, especially in East Africa, are named in this fashion. Buziraguhindwa’s translation roughly means "never retreat." This hillside is famous for warriors who lived here long ago. Buzira "never" guhindwa (guhinda : infinitive) "make someone go back."