Burundi is on the road less traveled and captures less attention in the coffee world than some of its African neighbors. Fortunately, at Royal we have some talented people, like Chris Korman
, who have made the journey and built relationships that serve as the foundation for good supply chain. Burundi is truly a place where coffee trade done well can positively impact the lives of many who otherwise suffer from the constant uncertainty of civil unrest. For the last several years Royal has worked with Salum Ramadhan who was born and raised in Burundi. Salum operates several washing stations in Kayanza growing region, which reflect his passion for coffee and his community. Cherries are delivered to the washing stations from thousands of producers who cultivate and harvest from just a few hundred coffee trees. Lots are meticulously separated fully traceable to harvest date and washing station. Each lot is classified through a strict protocol that includes hand sorting and floating the cherry. Depulped coffee undergoes a three-part fermentation process, 16 hours of dry fermentation, then another 14 hours of fermentation with water, and then washed and soaked in fresh water for 10 hours. The parchment is gently dried on raised beds until the moisture reaches 11 percent, after which the coffee is stored until it is time to prepare for export. Salum pays well above the government minimum for cherry and pays farmers extra to sort cherries. He also encourages the farmers keep and process unused cherry for personal consumption or to sell in the local market. Salum has a nursery program to distribute seedlings to farmers. He has also been paying to build additional classroom to alleviate problems with overcrowding in the schools.