Coffee came to Burundi in the 1920s when it was under Belgian colonial rule. From 1933 it was an obligation for every peasant farmer to cultivate at least fifty coffee trees. In 1993 when the civil war happened there was a drop in production. Since then, efforts have been made to restore coffee production in Burundi.
From geographical aspects, Burundi has an ideal place for coffee plants. The mountainous surface provides the corresponding altitudes and climates. There are no coffee big estates in Burundi, instead, every farmer is producing coffee on their land.
The producers are grouped into SOGESTALs (Sociétés de Gestion des Stations de Lavage), which is an effective management organization for groups of washing stations, which is usually in the hands of the state. Quality development and infrastructure are also directed through these organizations.
The most popular coffees from Burundi are fully washed and usually are from the Bourbon variety. In many ways, Burundi is similar to its neighbor Rwanda. Both have similar altitudes and coffee varieties, and most importantly they are both surrounded by other countries which makes them landlocked. This can slow down the export due to the fact that many of these beans are still transported by boats.
Until recently, the coffees could be traced back only from their SOGESTAL, because at these places most of the coffees from different farmers were blended together.
Burgundy held a coffee quality competition in 2011, called the Prestige Cup. The purpose of this event was to establish the quality of each region. They kept separate the lots from individual washing stations, then the coffee was sold at auction with its traceability intact. This embraced the producers to make quality coffee and to help them sell their products.