Burundi fully washed: Speciality Grade, Gatukuza, Long Miles Coffee Estate
brown sugars, dark fruits, almost winey, notes of gooseberries
SCA Score: 85,50
Long Miles Project:
This month both of your coffees come from our long term partners at Long Miles. The Long Miles Project, founded by Ben and Kristy Carlson, opened its doors in 2013 and aims to raise the bar of specialty coffees coming out of Burundi. The project works with more than 4.500 individual coffee farmers living near two central washing stations, Bukeye, opened in 2013 and Heza, from 2014. There are several reasons why producing speciality coffee in Burundi is an incredibly difficult task. There’s the incredibly unstable political situation, where government can change rules on coffee prices and production seemingly overnight, the geographical constraints that come with being a small landlocked country attempting to export coffee by sea freight, the constant threat of military coup. But through it all the Carlson family have managed to establish themselves as producers and exporters of consistently delicious coffees, all the while providing some semblance of stability to the lives of smallholder farmers that surround their two washing stations in the northern Kayanza Province, near the border with Rwanda.
This year has been a particularly difficult one in Burundi. Yields on trees are down, and a flare-up in the political situation led to logistical difficulties, both for farmers taking cherry to processing stations, and for projects like Long Miles transporting processed coffee out of the country. This has meant Long Miles have had to look for alternative channels to buy enough quality coffee to export. Both coffees this month are examples of this. The first coffee is washed lot from the nearby Gatukuza mill to the east, and the second is a natural lot from Long Miles’ Heza mill, but consists of cherry purchased from the neighbouring Nzove hill for the first time.