A long stretch of fifteen kilometers dirt road lies between the Long Miles Bukeye Washing Station and Giku hill. You have to cross over two rivers and pass by two province borders to get reach here. Although there are many small rivers running through this region, the communities that live here have little access to clean drinking water and are far beyond the reach of electricity. Coffee is the most important crop grown on the hill, closely competing with corn and beans. The fringes of the Kibira Forest, Burundi’s only indigenous rainforest, looms fifty-four kilometers in the distance.
PROCESSING DETAILS This is the first year that we are producing naturally processed micro-lots from Giku hill. We have met challenge after challenge trying to bring a washing station closer to Giku. Coffee farming families from this region have delivered their cherries to Bukeye Washing Station or the nearest Long Miles collection point for years, often travelling more than three hours by foot to reach these sites. This year, we’re hoping to see that change. We bought a piece of land a stone’s throw away from Giku, cleared it and have started building Ninga, Long Miles Coffee’s third washing station.
Coffee farmers will walk or bicycle the day’s harvest of cherry to the Ninga Washing Station site. 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 the desired 10.5% moisture level.
THE SCOUTS Salvator is one of the Coffee Scouts working alongside coffee farming families on Giku hill. He has been empowering farmers with sustainable farming practices, helping them to understand the importance of planting shade trees, growing green manures, mulching their land and seasonally pruning the coffee trees. During coffee harvest, he stands side by side with farmers, guiding them through the cherry-picking process.