Munyinya was the first hill that made us realize that Burundi coffee had the potential to produce amazing microlots. Munyinya lies just beyond the border of Bukeye commune. The dirt road winding towards the hill is cut into the side of steep slopes that drop into cinematic views of the valleys below. Coffee trees line the steady incline that leads to the tiny town center. Despite its beauty, it was a hill that Long Miles almost gave up on because year after year, farmers kept delivering bad quality cherries. But, when a hill holds as much potential as Munyinya, it is worth rolling up our sleeves and pouring our efforts into it day after day.
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 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 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.
THE SCOUTS Lydie is one of the Coffee Scouts working alongside the coffee farming families on Munyinya hill. She has been empowering farmers with sustainable farming practices, helping them to plant shade trees, green manures, mulch their land and seasonally prune the coffee trees. During coffee harvest, she stands side by side with farmers, guiding them through the cherry picking process. She has also taught farmers how to spot and catch antestia bugs, the colorful bugs thought to be linked to the potato taste defect, that can be found in the coffee trees.