Burundi, a landlocked country in Central East Africa, was colonized by the Belgians in the 1920's. The Belgians introduced coffee to Burundi in the 30's by bringing over Arabica seedlings. Due to the colonialism, Burundi was long plagued with political unrest & civil war which caused the coffee prices to often fall far below the market value. The coffee sector was eventually taken over by the state and from 1991-2008 the government set up an auction system. In 2008 the World Bank led the privatization of the coffee sector, making it possible for private companies & co-ops to own washing stations and dry mills that had previously been owned by the state. In 2007 USAID sent agronomy consultants around the country to help educate the farmers on modern coffee growing practices.
The results have been incredible. You may even remember some of our other Burundi offerings as they are often some of the most delicious coffees we feature each year. Burundi currently has around 283 washing stations and 8 dry mills throughout the country. Their washed-process coffees are unique in that they are often "double washed" resulting in an exceptionally clean & tasty cup. The wet mill of Rugori was built in the late 70's and is located near the Kayanza province. This washing station collects cherries from over 4100 local coffee farmers and during the harvest season, Rugori processes more than 1200 tons of coffee.