Subregion: Yandaro, Kayanza, Kabarore
Coffee Washing Station: Yandaro
Altitude: 1700-1800 masl
Variety: Red Bourbon
Process: Fully Washed
Tasting notes: peach, grape, lemonade, white chocolate
Yandaro CWS sits close to the border with Rwanda, in the Kayanza province. Both countries share special growing conditions in the corridor that connects the south of Rwanda to the north of Burundi. This region produces many of our favourite coffees both in Rwanda and Burundi.
The washing station is in the valley where the eponymous river runs. The growing area around the station benefits from being close to the Kibira Rainforest.
The station serves 3,193 local coffee producers from 22 hills around the station. The average altitude in the area is 1,800m. During the harvest season, Yandaro processes more than 1,200 metric tonnes of coffee. The region has a mild climate with average temperatures between 18 and 25° Celsius, depending on the altitude.
During the harvest season, all coffee is selectively hand-picked. Most families only have 200 to 250 trees, and harvesting is done almost entirely by the family. Greenco knows that even small distances can be time consuming and expensive to travel for smallholder farmers, and they know that receiving cherry immediately after harvest is crucial to quality. Therefore, smallholders can bring their cherries either directly to a central washing station (CWS) or to one of the 12 collection sites situated throughout growing areas. Farmers are paid the same for their quality cherry regardless of where they bring their cherries. In this way, farmers are not disadvantaged due to their location and Greenco bears the cost of transport to CWS’s.
Quality assurance begins as soon as farmers deliver their cherry. Cherries are wet processed under constant supervision. The pulping, fermentation time, washing, grading in the channels and a final soaking is closely monitored.
After sorting, cherry is de-pulped within 6 hours of delivery. During pulping, cherry is separated into high- and low-grade by density on a Mackinon 3-disc pulper outfitted with an additional separation disk. The coffee is then fermented in water from a nearby stream for 10-12 hours, depending on ambient temperature. A small sign on the fermentation tank keeps track of each lot. The sign mentions the washing station name, date of cherry purchase, grade of the bean and the time when fermentation began. Trained agronomists check the beans by hand regularly to ensure fermentation is halted at the perfect time. The station workers trample the parchment for 30 minutes in the fermentation tank. This trampling process helps to remove mucilage on the fermented parchment. After this, the parchment is given fresh water to move it into the washing-grading canal, where it is washed.
After fermentation is completed, coffee is run through washing and grading canals. As the beans flow through, wooden bars that are laid across the canal prevent beans of specific densities from passing through. These bars are spaced across the channel. While the first blockade stops the most-dense beans, the next is arranged to stop the second most-dense beans and so on. In total, the channel separates beans into seven grades according to density. After washing, this parchment is poured onto wooden trays or nylon bags and carried to the drying tables, each in its separate quality group. Each tray and nylon bag of parchment keeps its traceability tag with all info.