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Burundi has been a special producer for us since visiting as part of the Cup of Excellence jury in 2017 where we had the privilege of cupping some of the best coffees the country had to offer. During my time there, the insight I had into the lives of smallholder coffee producers was both humbling and upsetting, despite the amazing quality, it is all too often valued at a much lower price to that of neighbouring Rwanda – this of course has a direct impact onto the income received by the producer, some of whom were earning as little as $50 USD per year through coffee. Naturally, we returned with a desire to change this and grow more of a demand for coffee from this tiny landlocked nation in East Africa, a land full of opportunity to develop through coffee export if the industry is grown responsibly.
The coffee industry in Burundi is becoming increasingly privatised – a move that has been very positive in improving the quantity of specialty coffee produced but one that has taken away ownership from Burundian people. There has been a lot of Swiss investment and it can be challenging to find coops that are truly independent and owned solely by smallholder farmers. Happily I found one when visiting called COCOCA which is a union of coops established in 2012 that takes care of the coffee processing, quality control and preparation for export from its own dry mill called HORAMAMA. The lot we have selected this year comes to us from a producing group in the Western region of Muyinga which borders the DRC. The coop is called Ncamwayacu which, when translated, means ‘Our source of revenue’ – there are 750 members of this group producing coffee at between 1450 and 1550 metres above sea level . Once the ripe cherries have been picked, they are delivered to the Wingoma washing station where they are fermented for between 12-18 hours to break down the sugars in the fruit flesh before being soaked for 12 hours to continue the development of flavour ahead of the coffee being stripped of the fruit flesh and dried on raised beds for up to 17 days.
The resulting lot is one full of complexity with a whole host of flavours found right the way from hot to cold. This coffee starts peachy with a pink grapefruit-like acidity before developing some sweet and syrupy notes of blackcurrant and raspberry – there are hints of orange blossom and an almost buttery mouthfeel with a real lingering aftertaste, overall it is an elegant and refined cup.
Local pickups take place from the Roastery on Tong Road, please note we are still operating social distancing so ring the doorbell when you arrive and we can pass your order through the door. Please note our shutter doors will be down for security and temperature reasons but we are always in Monday-Friday between 9 and 5pm. We are offering free shipping for orders above £20 🙂
Once you have placed your order, you will receive an email to confirm it is being processed and then another one to let you know when it has been dispatched. We are currently operating with a 2-3 working day lead time to process your order once you have placed it. Thanks in advance for your understanding, it is much appreciated in these challenging times!