Anyone who has been fortunate enough to meet Angele Ciza, the owner of Kahawa Link Company (Kali-co, for short), is not likely to forget her. In 2012, Angele and Consolata, two friends (and experienced business women) decided to go into the coffee business together. They purchased seven washing stations that had been part of the old government-run Sogestal program, with the idea of working in close partnership with growers so they could process and export Burundi’s best coffees. A few years ago Angele and Consolate parted ways, and Angele took over running Kalico. The pride and satisfaction Angele and Alex, her son, take in the company comes through in the excitement they have for forging friendships with their buyers.
The washing stations are in the Kirundo and Muyinga Provinces in North-Eastern Burundi, each serving 1,000-3,000 small scale farmers who grow primarily the bourbon varietal. They wet ferment the coffee for 12-18 hours, then do a 1-hour soak, then wash and pre-dry and sort before drying the coffee on raised beds. To improve the quality of the coffee produced, Angele knew she needed to start with the education of the producers, so they began with outreach to ensure best practices from nurseries to picking. As the quality and value of the coffee increases she is investing in additional training, environmental protection, inputs, micro-credit, micro-insurance, and social infrastructures in partnership with the producer organizations that deliver to their washing stations.