Why Should I use IKAWA green coffee?

Written by IKAWA Home - Here for you
Updated 2 years ago

As a Roasting System, IKAWA Home works best with the expansive (and growing) range of green coffee beans curated by IKAWA. We think you'll love our excellent range of beans, sourced transparently and more directly from coffee growers around the world. We are always looking to bring in new offerings that are exclusive and of premium quality. Additionally, our coffees come with recipes that have been specifically created for them, taking out the guesswork of roasting your coffee in your home.

IKAWA means coffee in Kirundi, which is the language of Burundi. The people in Burundi are highly dependent on coffee – and this is where Andrew grew up and the IKAWA concept was born.

This post delves into our archives with a video from over 7 years ago (!) from a trip Andrew and Rombout made with filmmaker Valentine Roels, with the backing of Schluter coffee. The purpose of this trip was to understand what it takes to create an excellent quality coffee and follow the coffee on the route it takes from Burundi to the Tanzanian port of Dar es Salaam. During the process we learned how IKAWA could help coffee growers with the IKAWA Roaster, The video is at the end of this post.

At the time the video was made, Andrew’s parents worked in Burundi. Stephen Story, Andrew’s dad, worked with coffee farmers to set up a small-scale coffee processing facility and farmers cooperative.

Coffee is a very important crop in Burundi. About 80% of the country's earnings are derived from coffee. In Burundi coffee is grown by small-holder subsistence farmers as a cash crop. The farmers sell the cherry to processing facilities called washing stations that process the green beans to a state where they are ready for export.

Following the severely depressed coffee prices of the 1990s in combination with the civil war from 1993 many Burundi farmers neglected to tend their coffee trees. Government laws prevented them from pulling the trees out and using the land to grow other crops that might be more profitable. The result of this was that coffee yields had fallen, as the trees had not been correctly cared for.

The Codemu cooperative’s washing station that we filmed in the video had been set up with the help of Food for the Hungry, Burundi with the aims of enabling farmers to process their coffee and benefit both through more of the value chain and improving the quality, which would result in higher prices.

During the making of the video, we followed the route coffee takes from being picked to the point where it is loaded onto a container ship for export. This involved travelling across Tanzania for 5 days on the lorries.

One of the things about the process that stuck us was the massive effort to make high-quality coffee. For example, we found that every coffee bean is sorted through three times by hand. A machine also sorts the beans once to grade them by size.

Every cherry is sorted by the families who grow them to remove those that are under or overripe.The beans are sorted to remove discoloured beans during the first part of the drying process.After the parchment is removed each bean is picked through again by hand to remove any defects.

The coffee is then loaded into sacks and exported to coffee drinking nations: Given the massive effort that coffee growers put into producing high-quality coffee, a remarkable fact is that many coffee growers have never tasted coffee for themselves.

We gave some coffee to some of the workers at the washing where they tried it for the first time, as seen in the film.

Coffee producers in Burundi taste their coffee for the first time.

IKAWA aims to supply consumers with green coffee sourced directly from the growers. As we simplify the supply chain our aim is to give back to the producer we work with and build sustainable, long-standing relationships. 

We also believe there is a need for a reliable roaster that is suitable for growers' organizations to use, enabling them to taste their produce for the first time – and second, third and fourth times to become experts themselves – to enable them to improve their production methods. Existing sample roasters are very expensive in comparison to the IKAWA roaster and are expensive and difficult to install.

The video below, The Trail of Coffee follows the route Ikawa (coffee) takes from Burundi to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. During the filming IKAWA's founders, Andrew Stordy and Rombout Frieling travelled with filmmaker Valentine Roels and the coffee on the trucks across Tanzania.

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