Burundi Nyinya Natural
12 oz whole bean coffee
Producers: 1553 smallholder families
Altitude: 1566 meters
Variety: French Mission Bourbon
Tasting notes: Strawberry, baked apple, buttercream, candied ginger
We’ve been working with Long Miles Coffee Project in Burundi since the 2015 harvest. In that time we’ve gotten to know their team well and developed a strong relationship-at-a-distance with the producers they work with and the coffees they produce, particularly the coffees from Ninga and Gaharo Hills, one of which we’ve been buying coffee from each year.
This year is different. The effects of climate change have been tough on the country, and Burundi just experienced its lowest coffee yield in 20 years. According to Long Miles, coffee is Burundi’s number one export and provides 70% of the nation’s GDP. This year’s harvest was only one quarter of the usual output nationwide, so the economic impact is widespread in this tiny, landlocked, impoverished country. The production of Long Miles in particular was exceptionally hard hit, with the organization producing only 15% of its average export.
As always, creative people will make the best of adversity to create new opportunities. In response to the crisis, Long Miles banded together with some of their neighboring producers to create a collection of micro lots. They’ve been able to make sure these lots are kept separated and not blended with lower quality coffees to sell at commodity prices. They’ve also had the opportunity to ensure the farmers who grew the cherries are paid premium prices in accordance with the quality they produced. We consider ourselves very lucky to have purchased two of these lots this year, and have the opportunity to become acquainted with more of what Burundi has to offer.
Nyinya is the first of the lots we’re roasting. It’s a beautiful natural processed coffee produced by 1553 smallholding families on eight coffee hills in the Ngozi province, on the border with Rwanda. Farmers first float their cherries at home to remove defects before carrying them on their heads as far as 8 km on narrow foot paths to the Nyinya collection point. Each farmer’s contribution is weighed and recorded before the cherries are laid to dry in a single layer on raised beds. Over the next 20 - 30 days the cherries dry in the hot sun while teams perform additional sorting to make this natural coffee is clean, sweet, and consistent from cup to cup.
This is our fifth year buying from Long Miles Coffee Project, and our first year buying Nyinya. We made a commitment at the beginning of the harvest to purchase 3 bags each of up to 3 separate lots. We scored this lot 87.25 and purchased 3 60kg bags for $5.20/lb FOT, on a day when the Coffee Commodity price was $1.22/lb.