Gishubi is a stone’s throw away from the indigenous Kibira Forest. The cool mist of the forest breathes daily onto the coffee trees. This slightly cooler micro-climate makes the coffee cherries of Gishubi grow and mature slower, which sets the Gishubi cup apart. Sadly, the hill’s proximity to the forest has meant that during times of conflict it becomes a permanent theater of war. Armed groups have often hidden in the forest and forcefully collected people’s possessions, crops and livestock. During times of conflict farmers have no choice but to abandon their fields and children are not able to go to school.
PROCESSING DETAILS Heza Washing Station processes its coffee by pumping spring water from a nearby natural spring. During the fully washed process freshly harvested cherries are delivered by coffee farmers to the Long Miles Coffee Washing Station, then floated and hand-sorted for ripeness upon arrival. The cherries are pulped and undergo a double fermentation process. Parchment spends around twelve hours dry fermenting, then undergoes a twenty-four hour wet fermentation. The parchment is sometimes ‘footed’ after fermentation. A team will agitate and dance on the slippery coffee parchment by foot, helping to loosen any remaining mucilage clinging to it. It is then rinsed in fresh water, graded by density and left to soak for another four to six hours in the final rinse tank. The parchment is carried to covered drying tables where it spends between six to forty-eight hours pre-drying. During this time, it is hand-picked for under-ripeness, over-ripeness, insect damage and visual defects. It is then moved to traditional African raised tables where it spends between sixteen to twenty days slow drying (depending on the weather) until it reaches the ideal 10.5% moisture level. During the natural process coffee cherries are floated and hand-sorted, then taken straight to the drying tables. The whole coffee cherry spends between twenty-five to thirty days drying in its own skin, slowly turning from a deep red to a prune-like purple-black once its fully dry and at the preferred 10.5% moisture level.
THE SCOUTS When Long Miles started working with Gishubi farmers, many of them were ready to uproot their coffee trees and abandon their farms. Alphonse is one of the Coffee Scouts endeavoring alongside the coffee farming families on Gishubi hill to see this change. He has been teaching coffee farmers to take care of their plantations by planting shade trees, green manures, mulching and seasonally pruning their coffee trees. During coffee harvest, he stands side by side with farmers, guiding them through the cherry picking process. He has also taught farmers how to spot and catch antestia bugs, the colorful bugs thought to be linked to the potato taste defect, found in the coffee trees.