Origin Story: Burundi Cofee

We're excited to have a new single-origin coffee coming into our roaster this season! When we set out to create our coffee calendar to reflect the agricultural seasons of the world, we couldn't have anticipated how much the world would change amid a pandemic.

The coffee industry wasn't invincible to the troubles of COVID and across the globe, from farm to roaster, we've seen the difficulties hitting at every level. From shortages of workers to pick ripe cherries at the farm level to importing delays at ports, the effects are everywhere. 

This isn't to say we're unprepared. With our deep-rooted and long-lasting relationships cultivated over the years, we're continuing to bring in flagship flavors and new coffees to the shelf. Two of those fresh coffees are coming from a familiar place but with a whole new story. 

Our previous article about our Burundi Kinyovu coffee dove deep into the story created by JNP Coffee. Founded in 2012 by native Burundian Jeanine Niyonzima-Aroian, JNP's focus was to bring Burundi coffee to the world stage and elevate the expectations from the region's export. We’ve worked with Niyonzima-Aroian for many years now, bringing you the unique, flavorful coffees of the country. Grown in the high mountains with notable floral tasting notes with hints of fruit, their coffee characteristics are hard to resist. Her excellent work with the International Women's Coffee Alliance (IWCA) brought Burundi coffee to the main stage in the industry and her new venture will be equally impressive. Jeanine serves as a role model for what a Burundian woman can achieve in her country.  As a licensed Q grader, she continues to strengthen the global specialty coffee industry. 

Dushime Program & Incuti 

While JNP Coffee remains highly focused on women’s empowerment and women’s rights, Niyonzima-Aroian created a new network for other farmers in the region. It all started when a local leader of a producer group in Kayanza Province decided to seek JNP’s partnership. He had heard of JNP’s assistance programs and post-harvest premiums and wanted to know how to involve his group. For groups like this JNP has established the Dushime Program (dushime in Kirundi translates to “let’s be thankful." The program provides quality consulting, lot selection, marketing to JNP’s buyer community, and end-of-year premiums to those farmers outside of the women's organization. 

These coffees have been titled Incuti, which translates to “relative”, and is often used to mean "friend" in Kirundi. A fitting title for a new coffee relationship between Burundians. We were lucky to get two coffees from Burundi this season from this new group of producers. Our continued efforts to import based on season and quality have led us to two unique and bold coffees we may not have found otherwise.

Like never before, you'll be able to try a single origin coffee coming from the same place but processed in different ways! Processing is what happens to the coffee cherries after they've been picked. Meaning, these new Burundi coffees are each produced by the in same region but you'll be able to get a glimpse at the difference processing can make!


Let's Talk Coffee Processing...

 Washed (West Process)

Cherries are picked and sorted and then run through a variety of water-filled channels and tanks to separate out bad cherries. Then they are run through a processing mill to break-up and remove the bright red skins. After that, they are moved to fermentation tanks. The water in these tanks have microbes that eat and digest the mucilage (fruit) off the beans over a period of hours to days. After all the fermentation, the beans, which still have a layer of hulling around it, are dried slowly for quite a long time. The hull protects the beans from picking up weird flavors and then is removed in a dry mill. Washed coffees are thought by many to be a more "pure" representation of the actual coffee. They do tend to be cleaner and the flavors tend to be more separable from others, so they have more clarity.

Natural (Dry Process)

Cherries get picked and sorted then laid out on beds that are like nets/screens to allow airflow. workers will then turn and move the cherries to ensure even drying. In the end, the cherries morph from bright red plump fruits to having a sort of raisin-look to them. Fermentation happens inside the cherries during this process and you end up with lots of chemicals that taste fruity. Naturals tend to be sweet, have lots of sweet notes like berries or tropical fruits.


What to Expect with these Coffees

Burundi Incuti (Natural)

Naturally processed coffees heighten the tasting notes to new levels. You'll be able to experience all that Burundi coffee has offer within this cup of Incuti Natural. Grown in the Kayanza Province, you can sip and enjoy the pure and wholesome tastes of this growing region of globally-renowned coffee. Expect tasting notes of cabernet, plum, and black cherry to round out this cup.

Shop Incuti Natural

Burundi Incuti (Washed)

Bold, bright, and new to our line up this year, Incuti Washed truly exemplifies the region of Burundi. The Incuti producers craft a cup of coffee brimming with silky notes of spice and lime. As the coffee cools, a strawberry-like acidity becomes more prominent. It scored an 84+ with our Q-grader, which means you can expect this coffee to leave a lasting impression on your tastebuds! 

Shop Incuti Washed