THE STORY BEHIND
Rimiro is an impressive coffee washing station, particularly in regards to the reach to local producers. Just under 1500 producers from the local area sell cherry directly to Rimiro Coffee Washing Station in the N’Gozi province.
The landscape of Burundi is abundant with hills, which helps to geographically define the land and areas of agriculture. That is why the land has been traditionally viewed as the hill on the one hand and its surrounding area – on the other. Rimiro, which literally means “where we cultivate” in the local language, Kirundi, is a small and humble hill in comparison to the neighbouring landscape.
What it lacks in stature itself, it makes up for in use to the local community through the station that sits upon it. Over 200 drying tables spread across the station’s land, the final step for parchment coffee from 1,300 metric tonnes of cherry every season. The rate of cherry purchased at the station is well above the national rate, so that the producers manage to sell more. In addition, they are assisted with agricultural programs, including the raising of livestock, and given fertiliser in the form of the coffee cherry post processing products.
Bourbon is one of the most culturally and genetically important C. arabica varieties in the world, known for excellent quality in the cup at the highest altitudes.It is one of the two main cultivars from which new cultivars are bred, the other being Typica. Historical records indicate that Bourbon was taken from the coffee forests of Southwestern Ethiopia to Yemen, where it was cultivated as a crop; recent genetic studies have confirmed this.Bourbon was first produced in Réunion, which was known as Bourbon island before 1789. It was later taken by the French to mainland Africa and to Latin America.Bourbon grows best at heights between 1,100 and 2,000 meters above the sea level and produces a 20-30% higher yield than Typica. It has a commercially viable level of yield potential and growth habit, but is generally susceptible to disease and pests.
THE FERMENTATION PROCESS
Dry process seems simple: pick the fruit, lay it out in the sun until it turns from red to brown to near-black, and then hull off the thick, dried outer layer in one step to reveal the green bean. It is a method suited to arid regions, where the sun and heat can dry the seed inside the intact fruit skin.
It’s often referred to as «natural coffee» because of its simplicity, and because the fruit remains intact and undisturbed, a bit like drying grapes into raisins. Since it requires minimal investment, the dry process method is a default to create cheap commodity-grade coffee in areas that have the right climate capable of drying the fruit and seed.
But it’s a fail in humid or wet regions. If the drying isn’t progressing fast enough, the fruit degrades, rots or gets covered with mould.
Dry-processed coffees can also be wildly inconsistent. If you want a cleanly-fruited, sweet, intense cup, dry process (DP) takes more hand labor than wet process. Even the most careful pickers will take green unripe or semi-ripe coffee off the branch as they pick red, ripe cherry. If these are not removed in the first days of drying, the green turns to brown that is hard to distinguish from the ripe fruit.