Gitwe stretches from Heza Washing Station all the way to the main road that runs through the northern province of Kayanza. At almost every hour the hill bustles with the activity of village life. People run alongside cars with baskets full to the brim with onions and potatoes to sell. Carpenters craft planks of wood into tables in the small town’s center. Fig trees stand tall on either side of the hill, casting a welcoming shade from the hot East African sun. An assortment of onions, sweet potato, maize, banana, cassava, beans and cabbage are grown alongside coffee in the hill’s rich soils. The Long Miles Coffee Farm can be found on one of Gitwe’s slopes, just above Heza Washing Station. Here, our 7,055 coffee trees are growing alongside our neighbors.
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 Anicet is one of the founding Coffee Scouts working alongside the coffee farming families on Gitwe hill, teaching them how to take care of their plantations and produce quality coffee. He has been empowering farmers by teaching them sustainable farming practices. He helps them understand the
importance of planting shade trees and green manures, and he helps them to mulch their land and seasonally prune 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- that hide in the coffee trees.