New Burundi Crop is Here

Starting off the year with new Burundi crop from Kayanza and Mutambu

We are launching our new arrivals of Burundi from this harvest (links below). Like most of our end of year coffee arrivals, this much anticipated container was delayed due to port congestion on both ends of the maritime journey, but the wait is finally over. 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 Bourbon (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.

Coffee cherry being sorted by farmers before processing in the depulper machinery. Kibingo Station, Kayanza, Burundi.
Coffee cherry being sorted by farmers before processing in the depulper machinery. Kibingo Station, Kayanza, Burundi.

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 coffee cherry, and many also have a second payment bonus, or other benefits. That might be free coffee plants for improving future harvest, training in agronomy, or in the case of Agahore and Greenco, free goats to help create organic 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 Kazoza N’ikawa. 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!):

Bigger Picture Issues with Burundi Coffee and the Global Coffee Trade

After the 2019 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/Coffee Shrub:

Check out the new lots now available:

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