Rubirizi hill sits 1,750 meters above sea level, just east of Gaharo where the Long Miles story began. The border separating Muramvya and Kayanza provinces runs between these two hills, with Gaharo being in Muramvya and Rubirizi in Kayanza. Life on Rubirizi hill is fairly representative of much of Burundian rural life: most people are engaged in agriculture, producing food for themselves and their families. Common crops include maize, beans, potatoes, cassava, peas, bananas, sweet potatoes, and, of course, coffee. It is also common to see mangoes being grown in Rubirizi - something that makes this hill unique amongst the surrounding hills. Possibly the most unique aspect of Rubirizi hill, however, is the market that takes place daily from 4:00 to 7:00 pm. As much a reason for connecting with your neighbors as it is an economic affair, the market is home to people selling food or gathering at the most popular business there: the banana beer stand. Though farmers from Rubirizi have delivered to Bukeye washing station for a number of years, there was never the critical mass needed to separate their coffee and process them as their own traceability. With more farmers, however, choosing to work with Long Miles, bolstered by the bumper crop we experienced this year, we had enough Rubirizi to keep the hill separate and present it on its own.
PROCESSING DETAILS Bukeye Washing Station has its own borehole water source and a granite filtered well. 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 single fermentation process. Parchment spends around twelve hours dry fermenting. 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 freshwater, 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 and 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 desired 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 skin, slowly turning from deep red to a prune-like purple-black color when fully dry, reaching a 10.5% moisture level.