This coffee comes from the Shembati washing-station and is interesting because of the way the washing station is operating The team here is very dedicated to producing and processing coffee so that it can taste the best.
The coffee at the Shembati mill is systematically separated based on where they are grown, and by the date of processing. They generally collect cherries from within a community, however the landscape in Burundi means the communities are situated in between hills, and this can often create microclimates specific to each area.
Shembati washing station has strict routines for cherry reception. The coffees are sorted by the farmers at the receiving stations on raised tables, or they have small flotation tank systems for each farmer at delivery. They also have workers dedicated to sort out unripe and overripe coffees for their special preparation of micro lots. The pre-processing flotation process is to first put the cherries in water tanks. They will then skim off the floaters and give it back to the farmer before the coffees are hand sorted to separate out unripe/half-ripe.
The elevation at the washingstation is high, and the climate is cool, meaning it’s easier to control the fermentation time. The traditional fermentation and washing process in Burundi is a lengthy procedure with double fermentation (dry and wet fermentation) before soaking. The double fermentation is a labor intensive process that also requires a lot of water, and creates more wastewater. They changed the process to reduce water usage, labor, increase capacity and avoid over fermentation.
They generally do a 12 hour dry fermentation. It’s then graded in washing channels into 3-4 grades based on density before 12-18 hours soaking time in clean water.
From there it goes to pre drying under shade with handpicking of wet parchment before entering the elevated and sun exposed drying tables. Drying normally takes 15 – 20 days depending on the climate and rainfall. It’s not uncommon with rain during the drying, and they have to be quick to cover up the parchment when they see the clouds are building up.