A wonderful super fresh, full traceable, Burundi top lot. It comes at a bit higher price but supporting cutting edge and high rated lots from Burundi is a feel good and tasty endeavor.
A high rated Burundi like this is a little more linked profile wise to a nice Kenya cup. Brighter with strong chocolate and spice notes co-mingling with a layers of exotic soft fruit and floral tones. Not a simple cup, tastes are very dependent on roast, easy to change up the cup profile to fit your personal tastes.
Tasting Notes: A wonderful African but you have to like some acidity to enjoy this cup. Much of the premium cost to this cup is going to be on the lighter spectrum of roasting. Jazzy acidity on a very clean cup. These beans will taste good at almost any roast but close to into 2nd crack will burn out much of the floral/fruity and crisp cup character. Light roasts work well but would be considered front loaded, strong citric floral tones with just a hint of a herbal chocolate in the aftertaste, as it cool one can pick up hints of soft fruit but they are pretty covered up by the higher acidity. Medium roasts pull some nice balance, more chocolaty with classic Kenya tea like spice, not front loaded but still easy to identify the more citric/floral/fruity tones of the cup. We like it here best. Touching 2nd crack produced a much lower acidity cup, still crisp but not overly citric, really makes the more tea like spice pop out of the cup and are accompanied with hints of smoky tones. Much darker than this turned a bit bittersweet.
Roasting Notes: Easy to recommend a light to medium roast on this one. Keeps it very jazzy with awesome layers of taste. Even roasting with medium to low chaff, no big tricks. Does look one shade darker than it really is similar to many African or high altitude beans.
Heza Coffee Washing Station, the second processing site built by the Long Miles Coffee Project (LMCP), is stadium-like in its height and steepness. Heza pumps water from a nearby natural spring to the very top of the station and washed processing cascades from there down to the bottom, where cleaned and graded parchment is then tagged and couriered to various plots on the hillside for organized drying. LMCP is a microlot business. All of their infrastructure, systems, employees, and marketing are designed to support large numbers of unique and fully traceable coffees. Doing so in Burundi is especially difficult because farms produce very little cherry and are scattered across broad landscapes.
They are also numerous, requiring the successful coordination of hundreds of farmers and processing staff just to produce a single differentiated lot. Importantly, such an effort requires sustainable prices to support, so the coffee itself needs to be as delicious as possible. Fortunately, LMCP excels at identifying landscapes and communities with potential, and investing heavily in farmer livelihood. With this formula they are easily producing many of the country’s best coffees each year.
It is common for processors in Burundi to use the consistently steep and hilly landscape as a tool for organization, often buying cherry from one single hill at a time, or using the term “hill” to refer to a micro-geography. Mutana, a widespread community consisting of many hills and hundreds of farmers, is one of the contributing “hills” to Heza. Unlike most processors, LMCP separates every hill and delivery day until processing is complete and a quality assessment has been made, at which point certain day lots may be combined.
Farmers across Mutana hill are registered partners with LMCP and receive not only highly competitive prices and post-harvest premiums for their cherry, but also farm-level trainings covering canopy and fertilizer development, pruning, harvesting for quality and integrated pest management. These trainings are all provided by local “Coffee Scouts”, LMCP’s team of community-based trainers who serve as local instructors. The education and high prices combined have helped many of LMCP’s farmers renew their faith in coffee as a long-term livelihood. Long Miles works with a total of 5,500 farmers between their 3 washing stations, servicing 11 different hills.
Cherry from Mutana farmers is floated and hand-sorted for maximum ripeness upon delivery to Heza. Once the cherry is depulped the parchment undergoes a double fermentation process, including a 12-hour dry fermentation, followed by a 24-hour wet fermentation, during which the parchment is submerged entirely in spring water. After the set of fermentations is complete the parchment is “footed”, or agitated by dancing barefoot in the parchment to help the decomposed mucilage completely detach.
Once the agitation is complete, the parchment is rinsed in fresh water, graded by density, and left to soak another 4-6 hours in a final rinse tank. Post soak, the parchment is moved to shaded drying beds to allow residual surface water to evaporate, during which it is hand-sorted for any insect damage and visual imperfections. Parchment is then moved again to the larger beds with no shade to dry completely in the sun, a process that typically takes 16-20 days.