There are two rivers and a provincial border between the Bukeye washing station and the hills of Ninga. Coffee trees can make their way anywhere, even along muddy dirt roads all the way to the entrance to the farmers ’homemade adobe house. Due to the violent conflicts that erupted after Burundi’s independence, farmers in Ningan left their farms, fled to the surrounding forests, and coffee plants waited in hibernation for the owners to return.
Many decades later, farmers have returned home and are trying to overcome years of neglected impacts on their land. Nevertheless, Mount Ninga is able to produce coffees with elegant, complex and clean flavors. They are committed to working more closely together, which has not been so strong.
Mount Ninga is the site of the third coffee washing station set up by the Long Miles Cooperative. It is just 10 km from the Buyeke Laundry Station along the Nkokoma River. In 2020, the ground was cleared and traditional African raised drying tables were built in the hope that the Ninga Washing Station would be fully ready for the next coffee harvest.
Buyeke Washing Station has its own water source. The cherries scattered on the drying sheets are taken to the covered drying tables, where they spend 6-48 hours pre-drying. Meanwhile, overripe and visually defective eyes are hand-picked. It is then transferred to traditional African raised tables, where it dries slowly for 16 to 20 days (depending on the weather) until it reaches the desired moisture level of 10.5%.
During the natural process, the cherries are floated in large washbasins, sorted by hand and then taken directly to the raised drying tables. The coffee cherry dries for twenty-five to thirty days, while slowly the color of the fruit changes from deep red to prune-like purple-black, at which point it becomes completely dry, reaching the desired moisture level of 10.5%. *
Sakubu is one of the researchers working alongside the Ninga coffee-producing families on the mountain. Sustainable farming teaches routines to help farmers understand the importance of planting shade trees, green manure, the benefits of soil cover, and the benefits of seasonal pruning. During the coffee harvest, he works alongside the farmers and helps them through the cherry picking process.