The Bwayi Washing Station is located in Matongo town, in the Kayanza province of Burundi. There are about 4,000 producers who deliver cherry to the station, either directly or through one of 10 different nearby collection points.Farmers here own less than half a hectare of land, on average, and in addition to growing coffee, they also grow crops like bananas, beans, yams, taro, and cassava, both for sale and for household use.
Due to the small size and yield on the average coffee farm or plot, washing stations are the primary point of purchase for us in Burundi. Unlike other coffee-growing regions in Central and South America where landholdings are slightly larger and coffee-centric resources are more available, most producers do not have space on their property or the financial means to do their wet- or dry-milling. Instead, the majority of growers deliver cherry to a facility that does sorting, blending, and post-harvest processing of day lots to create different offerings.
Since 2006, we have cupped coffees from more than 50 washing stations in an attempt to pinpoint those with the best practices, cleanest cups, and most high-quality nearby farms. While the logistics of buying coffees from Burundi are extremely challenging, we love the heavy figgy, fruity, and lively coffees we find here—they remind us like a Malbec, with a firm support of acidity.