ANCIENT AFRICA - WILD AND MYSTERIOUS COFFEE FLAVOR
Although the commercial cultivation of coffee is very mature, the wild coffee varieties in Africa are still a treasure in the hearts of coffee lovers. As the birthplace of coffee, African coffee holds a pivotal position in the coffee industry.
African coffee is generally characterized by a strong aroma, and the charming and lively fruit acid is invigorating, but the mellow, sweet taste of African coffee is often not prominent. Due to frequent droughts and water shortages in Africa, the sun drying method is often used to process coffee cherries. The shape of the beans is often uneven and unsightly, and the defect rate is high.
Burundi is located on the south side of the equator, central and eastern Africa, most of the region is located on the east side of the Great Rift Valley, Rwanda to the north, Tanzania to the east and south, and Congo (Kinshasa) to the west. There are many plateaus and mountains, with an average elevation of 1,600 meters across the country, and is known as a "mountain country". The alpine climate is ideal for growing coffee beans. The varieties of coffee trees are mostly Bourbon and Jackson and Mibirigy belonging to the same Bourbon system.
In the 1930s, Burundi introduced Arabica beans from Belgium. So far, there are more than 800,000 coffee plantations of different sizes. Since most of them are small-scale plantations, the plantations are mainly released near the processing plant. Gradually, there are coffee cooperatives to facilitate farmers to send the harvested ripe coffee cherries to the processing field for unified treatment. There are two processing methods: water washing and semi-water washing.
Burundi's coffee production in 2021/22 totaled 6,000 tons, a significant decrease of 82% compared to the previous year's 34,000 tons. The main reason is that coffee farmers have no access to the ultimate buyer and most of the profits are made by traders. Low profits make them give up growing coffee; aging coffee trees are also a problem, but they cannot invest in it because of low incomes.
The coffee planting in Ethiopia is mainly in the west and the south. Small farmers account for 90% of the total planting. Nearly 1.2 million small farmers make a living from coffee cultivation, and each family has a planting area of fewer than 4 hectares. The average altitude is 1000 to 2300 meters, and the planting density is between 1000 and 1800 coffee trees per hectare.
Ethiopia's coffee exports account for about 3% of the world market share, and coffee is the main source of Ethiopia's foreign exchange earnings. Global coffee prices are rising as the world's largest coffee bean producer, Brazil, is suffering the worst drought in a century, causing its coffee bean production to plummet.
So the price of Ethiopian coffee tripled in February 2022 compared to May 2019. Coffee exports increased from 137,000 tonnes to 162,800 tonnes in six months. Exports generated $645 million in revenue, exceeding the original plan of $451 million.
Most of the best Kenyan coffee beans are produced on small farms, mainly in foothills or volcanic environments of five or six thousand feet. The different climates and rainfall each year will bring a variety of distinctive and unique coffee flavors. The production capacity of each small farmer is only about 20 to 70 bags per season, But not enough money to invest in expensive water treatment plants.
Since Kenya was a British colony in the early days, the British had already established a complete system of cultivation and quality management. Therefore, the government invested in the construction of a washing and processing plant to help small farmers uniformly process coffee cherries. The process was strictly supervised by the official coffee administration. High standards of control ensure the quality of coffee, so Kenya has always been an example of a bean-producing country.
Most Tanzanian coffee trees are grown along Central Africa's eastern coast, south of Kenya, and north of Mozambique, in Mount Kilimanjaro's old-growth forests, at elevations between 4,000 and 6,000 feet above sea level, rich volcanic soil, and consistent ocean mist make Tanzania ideal for coffee growing.
Most Tanzanian coffee is grown on small, family farms using traditional, natural growing methods， a total of 52,000 tons of coffee worth 69.2bn/- were grown in the region during the 2021/2022 season. Moreover, the price of coffee continued to pick up as a kilogram of the crop was bought at 1,300/- and 3,300/- per kilogram of organic coffee.
Government to encourage locals to plant coffee trees has scrapped 42 out of 47 levies that were being charged from coffee growers in the Kagera region， only five levies will now lower the charges per kilogram from 830- 267.