Burundi: Masha - Natural Bourbon
In the cup: Elegant cup profile, textured and juicy with flavour notes of hibiscus and cherry and a slight hint of rosemary.
Cupping Score: 88
Mouthfeel: Round, elegant.
Producer: Masha Washing Station
Altitude: 1700 meters above sea level
Masha station was built in 1989. Masha station shares its name with the sub-hill upon which it stands. The sub-hill is actually more famous for its cattle than its coffee. The name Masha comes from the Kirundi word “amasho”, meaning “herds of cattle”. The sub-hill has been a crossroad for many herds in the region. Many of the local herders greet each other with a unique phrase only used in this region. They say, “gira amasho”, which means “owner of cows”.
Many trees in Burundi are Red Bourbon. 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 to 4 years it will take new plantings to begin to yield. In order to encourage farmers to renovate their plantings, Greenco purchases seeds from the Institut des Sciences Agronomiques du Burundi (ISABU), establishes nurseries and sells the seedlings to farmers at or below cost. At the washing station, farmers can also get organic fertilizer derived from composted coffee pulp.
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 majority of farmers who deliver cherry to Masha station are subsistence farmers. Farmers intercrop their trees with food crops and other cash crops to feed and support their families.