Burundi Gatukuza #13
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12 oz whole bean coffee
Producers: Hermès Niyonkuru, Therence Nduwayezu
Growers: 10,600 smallholders
Altitude: 1658 meters
Variety: French Mission Bourbon
Tasting notes: Agave, blood orange, yellow plum, red currant
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.
Gatukuza #13 comes from the Gatukuza washing station, owned by Therence Nduwayezu. 2019 was only the first year that Therence and Gatukuza separated their coffee into “day lots”, micro-lots with full traceability that represent a single day's production, rather than bulking all of their coffee into larger lots separated only by grade. It is also the first year that they cupped their entire production to assess the quality of each individual lot. These changes paid off in a big way when one of their naturally processed lots was awarded with the first place prize in Burundi’s Cup of Excellence competition. We bought lot 13, a washed coffee with a bright, juicy, and sweet character. To us it's a classic Burundi profile with unique accents of agave, blood orange, yellow plum, and red currant. We're roasting it with a pretty light touch to let all of these high notes shine through clearly. We hope you love it as much as we do.
This is our fifth year buying from Long Miles Coffee Project, and our first year buying Gatukuza. 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 $4.50/lb FOT, on a day when the Coffee Commodity price was $1.17/lb.