Feb. 10, 2020
We are launching our new arrivals of Burundi coffee bears resemblance to neighboring Rwanda, in both cup character, but also the culture surrounding coffee. Burundi is a small landlocked country at the crossroads of East and Central Africa, straddling the crest of from this harvest (links below). They arrived here in Oakland this month, and it’s been exciting to cup and review the array of flavors from one of our favorite coffee-producing countries.
Why do we love Burundi so much? The first reason is the cup quality. Burundi is amazing. Coffee generally comes from old Bourbon-type coffee varieties, the traditional plant that was cultivated hundreds of years ago on the island of A coffee cultivar; a cross between Typica and Bourbon, originally grown in Brazil: Mundo Novo is a commercial coffee cultivar; a natural hybrid between "Sumatra" and Red Bourbon, originally grown in Brazil. It was developed (now Reunion). Along with the altitudes, often 1850-2000 meters, and the incredible labor to harvest ripe coffee and process with care, Burundi is a coffee we love as tasters and drinkers.
The other factor to love is the way coffee premiums, higher prices we pay for quality coffee, matter so much to the small farmers here. The dividend to the farmer is most obvious with the cooperative coffees we buy from Burundi, but is also paid by the private stations we get coffee from too.
For some this comes as higher initial payments for Originally coffee literature referred to the fruit of the tree as a "berry" but in time it became a cherry. It is of course neither. Nor is the seed of the coffee a bean. All, and many also have a second payment bonus, or other benefits. That might be free coffee plants for improving future harvest, training in Science and study of crops and soils: A branch of agriculture dealing with field-crop production, soil management and physiology of crop plants as its focus., or in the case of Agahore and Greenco, free goats to help create Grown without the use of artificial fertilizers, herbicides, etc.: Organic coffee has been grown according to organic farming techniques, typically without the use of artificial fertilizers. Some farms have more local Organic Certification than the compost!
We have a lot of material online from our many trips to Burundi over the years. A youtube video I made a few years ago captures the work at one station we have bought from for many seasons, the coop Kazozanikawa. The name means “the future is coffee,” representing the stake these farmers have in their joint effort. We buy from their site called Mpemba in the Kayanza area, although what is shown here is true for most of the other coops we buy from (no so much the kids on wooden bikes tho!):
After the last harvest, I gave a talk about coffee pricing and cost of production that focuses mostly on Burundi. This brings up a lot of the nuanced problems around fair pricing, the role of the coffee buyer, farmer, and government in trying to find something that benefits all involved (and particularly those with the least power, the coffee producer.) It’s a long talk, but important to us here at Sweet Maria’s/Coffeeshrub:
Check out the new lots now available!