Notes: Plum, Hibiscus & Turbinado Sugar
Origin: Gatara, Kayanza, Burundi
Producer: 3,000 Local Smallholder Producers
Importer: Collaborative Coffee Source
Processing: Washed, 10-12 hr. Fermentation, Dried on Raised Beds
Altitude: 1700-1900 masl
Harvest: Summer 2021
Varieties: Red Bourbon
The Masha coffee washing station shares its name with the sub-hill upon which it stands and is actually more famous for its cattle than its coffee The name Masha is derived from the Kirundi word “amasho” meaning “herds of cattle”. The sub-hill has been a cross road for many herds in the region and many of the local herders even have a unique greeting for each other, used only in these parts which is appropriate considering that 70% of them own cows. They will say “gira amasho” towards one another meaning “owner of cows.”
All coffee trees in Burundi are Red Bourbon, which is tightly controlled by the government for reasons of quality. Because of the increasingly small size of coffee plantings, aging rootstock is a very big issue in Burundi. Many farmers have trees that are over 50 years old, but with small plots to farm, it is difficult to justify taking trees entirely out of production for the 3-4 years it will take new plantings to begin to yield. Despite the ubiquity of coffee growing in Burundi, each smallholder producers a relatively small harvest. The average smallholder has approximately 250 trees, normally in their backyards. Each tree yields an average of 1.5 kilos of cherry so the average producer sells about 200-300 kilos of cherry annually.
The coffee from the Masha washing station presents stunning clarity and a syrupy flavor complexity that reminds us of ripe Italian plums and hibiscus, making this an instant staff favorite!