The 2018 harvest in Burundi is complete. The raised beds are bare and the cherries have left the farms. The green coffee is packed in containers heading across the sea or in parchment waiting for processing at the drymill.
So what happens on the farms during the off-season?
Now is when the farmers prepare their trees for a new growing season. Washing station workers clean all the tools used in coffee production. And another harvest year comes to a close.
In every season, Burundi stands at the heart and soul of JNP Coffee and our work to support the coffee farming community there. We were recently recognized for our mission by the trade magazine, CoffeeTalk as part of a new series profiling women in coffee. Read the August/September issue to learn more about the impact our premium payments have on women coffee farmers who harvest the highest quality coffee.
On the coffee farm
It’s the dry season now, but Mother Nature takes good care of the coffee trees. Burundi has no irrigation systems, so farmers depend on the environment to help nurture their trees.
Protecting the soil and pruning damaged limbs are the primary tasks of this season. Farmers use machetes to prune the damaged limbs of the trees to ensure the healthiest trees are ready for new growth. Farmers fertilize trees with last harvest’s pulp -- the red skins removed during depulping before fermentation. An ideal natural fertilizer, the pulp is available free of charge from the washing station owners. Banana leaves, goat and cow manure from nearby farms also supply good sources of fertilizer for the coffee trees.
Expect to see the first flowering of the new coffee cherries in the next month or so.
At the washing station
Cleanup also is underway at washing stations to ensure everything is in order and ready for the next harvest season.
Washing station workers collect, clean and store all the tools used at the wet mills. This includes the metal grilles and nylon mesh used to dry coffee on the African raised beds; wooden sticks used to remove the mucilage; buckets used to float the cherries; and scales used to weigh and measure the coffee.
I am pleased that the harvest was a good one, and plentiful. JNP Coffee still has coffee to sell and samples are available from this 2018 harvest. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more. We are also available to schedule cuppings around the U.S. I will be at the Coffee Roasters Guild retreat this year in Stevenson, Washington and hope to see some of you there!