Date Juice – Bourbon from Nemba in Kayanza Province, Burundi
Producers: smallholder farmers organized around Nemba washing station
Place: Kayanza Province, Burundi
Cultivar: Red Bourbon
Harvest: June 2022
Tasting notes: Dates, Quince, Red currant
Leading with floral quince & red currant, followed by a nice medjool date sweet finish, this exceptional washed process Bourbon cultivar was grown and harvested in May and June 2022 by smallholder farmers who deliver ripe coffee fruit to the Nemba washing station in Kayanza Province, Burundi.
Nemba washing station represents 3,000+ producers, all smallholders who own an average of 250 coffee trees each, effectively garden cultivating. The farmers delivering coffee cherry to Nemba are all located around 1,700+ meters above sea level, near the Kibila forest.
Greenco supports Nemba as well as other collectives (like Kibingo) with loads of organization assistance, training, organic fertilizers/ compost, as well as things like logistics and export.
Greenco has been a talented, encouraging, support system for producers in Burundi, starting their work in 2015. They’ve got a serious track record too, dominating all Cup of Excellence competitions in Burundi ever since they began.
A Bourbon here is a Bourbon there… right? Nope. Here’s a bit on the winding history of this tasty fruit that is both a single variety and a family of varieties with descendants. If we’re going to unpack how Bourbon got to be one of the most beloved and prolific varieties, we’ll have to go back in time. In the early 1700s, the French tried to introduce this variety from Yemen to the Island of Bourbon (now called La Réunion) on three occasions. These attempts were confirmed via genetic studies and the first attempt wasn’t successful at all – only some plants from the 2nd and third attempts made it onto the island to grow and propagate. Bourbon stayed on that island for a while, until the 19th century.
Eventually, Bourbon would make its way back to Kenya and Tanzania before heading west to Brazil. From there, it spread north into Central America, and for the Bourbon that we source from the folks at Nemba in Burundi, the story continues from that point to Central America, and back again via DRC (Congo). A very long journey that we can’t help but wonder how it’s characteristics changed along the way.
We expand on this story a bit: here.
All cherry is floated in small buckets as a first step to check quality. After floating, the higher quality cherry is sorted again by hand to remove all damaged, underripe and overripe cherries.
This is a washed processed lot. After sorting, cherry is pulped within 6 hours of delivery. The coffee is dry fermented for up to 12 hours and then soaked in clean water for 12 to 24 hours.
Parchment is then soaked for an additional 12 to 18 hours before being dried on raised beds for 2 to 3 weeks. Nemba members carefully inspect drying parchment for any damaged beans and rake the parchment frequently to ensure even drying and allows for time to remove any parchment that would detract from the quality they’re looking to hit.
We brew all our coffees with municipal water that flows from our taps in Metro Vancouver. This municipal source is very soft, low ppm water (around 30 TDS)
There are many alternative water recipes out there that will produce tasty cups if your water from the tap isn’t giving you good results. A good place to start is 1/2 strength Third Wave Water of around 60-70ppm (0.16g.-0.2g./L of TWW powder).
We make an effort to taste our coffees in a variety of ways, but mostly use cupping, V60, and Kalita 155 brews as our main ways of quality control and dialling in roast profiles. Our filter recipes can be found in our Journal here:
Roasted with filter coffee in mind, expect shots that are lighter in body and brighter in acidity than your typical espresso profile.
Nemba’s Date Juice makes shots that are bright and juicy with red currant fruit character and a date cookie sweet finish. Fast shots yield Kenya-like fruitiness and tastes lovely as straight espresso.
Starting spec: 18g:45g in 23 sec. on 9bar profile @93C