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Pharmacie Coffee Wholesale

Turaco, Burundi — Espresso Roast

PRODUCER: Various

PROCESS: Fully Washed

REGION: Ngozi & Kayanza

VARIETY: Red Bourbon

ALTITUDE: 1600-1900 MASL

Tasting Notes: Red apple with rich brown sugar and dark chocolate body.

About The Coffee 

Named for an iconic animal native to Burundi, Turaco is consistent cup profile, 84 SCA cup score and excellent sustainability credentials present an excellent value.

The vertically integrated sourcing chain makes this coffee’s journey as efficient as the proverbial bird flies. 

The Region

Most coffee trees in Burundi are Red Bourbon for reasons of quality. Because of the increasingly small size of coffee plantings, aging rootstock is a very big issue in Burundi. Many farmers have trees that are over 50 years old, but with small plots to farm, it is difficult to justify taking trees entirely out of production for the 3-4 years it will take new plantings to begin to yield. In order to encourage farmers to renovate their plantings, our importer purchases seeds from the Institut des Sciences Agronomiques du Burundi (ISABU), establishes nurseries and sells the seedlings to farmers at or below cost.

Despite the ubiquity of coffee growing in Burundi, each smallholder producers a relatively small harvest. The average smallholder has approximately 250 trees, normally in their backyards. Each tree yields an average of 1.5 kilos of cherry so the average producer sells about 200-300 kilos of cherry annually.

The Process

During harvest season, coffee is meticulously hand-picked by smallholder farmers, who typically have 200 to 250 trees each. Recognizing the challenges small distances pose to farmers, Greenco & Bugestal operate 12 collection sites to ensure timely delivery of cherries to washing stations. Quality is paramount, with farmers paid equally regardless of location. Upon delivery, cherries undergo rigorous wet processing, including pulping, fermentation, and grading under constant supervision. Quality control measures ensure only the finest beans are selected, with meticulous sorting by hand to remove any defects. After fermentation, beans are washed and graded by density in seven grades before being carefully dried on drying tables for 2-3 weeks. Regular monitoring and attention to detail throughout the process ensure the highest quality coffee beans.

Quality control

Once dry, parchment is bagged and taken to the warehouse. The team of expert cuppers assess every lot (which is separated by station, day and quality) at the lab. This traceability of the station, day and quality is maintained throughout the entire process.

Before shipment, coffee is sent to Budeca, Burundi’s largest dry mill. The coffee is milled and then hand-sorted by a team of hand-pickers who look closely at every single bean to ensure zero defects. It takes a team of two hand-pickers a full day to look over a single bag. UV lighting is also used on the beans and any beans that glow — usually an indication of a defect — are removed.

The mill produces an average of 300 containers of 320 bags per year. Budeca is located in Burundi’s capital city, Gitega, where the population is around 30,000 people. Since there are approximately 3,000 people working at the mill - mostly as hand pickers - this means that Budeca employs nearly 10% of the total population in Gitega for at least half the year (during the milling season). The same is true in the provinces of Ngozi and Kayanza, where Bugestal is among the first employers in the region during the coffee harvest season. This has an incalculable impact on a country like Burundi - where unemployment rates are above 50% - especially in rural areas and among young people.

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