Since 2009, we have built a solid relationship with a washing station in the community of Buziraguhindwa and with its owners, Ramadan and Charles. Ramadan in particular has developed a passion for quality and the pursuit of coffee perfection, and his experiments and improvements have resulted in exceptional washed coffees and jaw-dropping sundried naturals – Burundi's first, as far as we know – and he has likewise proven committed to the community and environment.
Two years ago, a portion of our holiday coffee proceeds helped to fund the expansion of the community's primary school, and, this year, the team has agreed to begin the process required for organic certification of the Buziraguhindwa washing station and the farms that bring their coffee to it. As staunch advocates for sustainable agriculture, we encourage all coffee growers to grow coffee organically, and we support farms and co-ops willing to undertake the process of certification, which requires effort, money, and sometimes a full three years of transition time before the coffee can be labeled organic. And, as if that weren't enough to test a farmer's abilities, Burundi has never produced a certified organic coffee, so our partners at Buziraguhindwa and likewise at Mpemba, where the Kazoza N'Ikawa cooperative is also interested in organic certification, have had no one to learn from thus far.
By directing a portion of our holiday coffee proceeds to facilitating their transition and supporting the dissemination of information on certification and good agricultural practices among these two groups, we can kickstart an organic sector that has ample room to grow!
While we take pride in our hands-on approach to coffee sourcing and the direct investments we make in the communities we work with, we also recognize that some obstacles are too big to tackle on a case-by-case basis. The coffee industry of Burundi – as well as that of its neighbor to the north, Rwanda – struggles with the still-mysterious, hard-to-eliminate potato defect, which is named for the unpleasant, raw-potato flavor that a single tainted coffee bean imparts to a cup or pot of brewed coffee. The fungus that begets this taste seems to exist only in this region of Africa and affects even the most immaculately processed coffees with a frequency that is daunting to those who, like us, can't get enough of the bright, juicy, extraordinary coffees from farms in this region.
A portion of the funds we raise will support research being done by the Global Knowledge Initiative and the International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology into the sources of and remedies for the potato defect, so that we can contribute to solving one the biggest and most frustrating coffee puzzles of the past decade.
ACAS, Guatemala 40%
Las Milpas, Mexico 40%
Haru, Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia 10%
Biloya Natural Sundried, Kochere, Ethiopia 10%