Burundi is a small nation located in the heart of Africa situated beneath Rwanda and in between the DR Congo and Tanzania. Like many of its surrounding nations, Burundi was at one time a colony. At this time coffee was mainly exported back to Europe, and native farmers were given little money or recognition for their work. Unsurprisingly, exploitation left Burundians disenchanted with their work.
In 1963, Burundi (alongside neighboring Rwanda) gained independence from colonial rule. Unfortunately, this newfound freedom stimulated resentment between two ethnic groups within the country. Similar to it’s neighbor Rwanda, the conflict escalated into full blown war. The result was several decades of constant unrest and hundreds of thousands dead. While the country is still struggling with violence, political unrest, and overall economic disparity, coffee is giving Burundians new hope for the future.
Burundian coffee is sweet, complex, and dense with stunning flavors. Much like it’s world-renown coffee producing neighbors Ethiopia and Kenya, the processing methods utilized by Burndian farmers generate excellent cup profiles which are among the best in the world. In a typical Burundi coffee, it is not unusual to taste diverse fruit flavors all situation within the context of thick and luscious chocolate tones. The acidity is exceptionally sparkling and clean which creates a bright and balanced character in the cup.
The outstanding flavors of Burndian coffee speak to a level of pride in the work being done at the individual farm level. Coffees from Burundi are almost exclusively categorized as “microlots” due to the fact that individual farmers may only oversee a very small area for coffee cultivation. Because of this, hundreds of farmers will pull their coffees together into cooperatives, where together they will work with a local washing station to sort and process their beans. From here the coffee will be bought by importing companies, and the funds will be spread amongst the farmers. Cooperatives enable small farmers to see that their coffee is sold, whereas trying to sell by oneself can lead to various problems such as the coffee being sold at a rate much lower than it’s worth, or even remaining unsold entirely.
With coffee exports remaining over a third of Burundi’s total GDP, there is definitely no slowing down of either the necessity nor the importance of this crop. With quality continuing to improve each year, Burundi continues to distinguish itself as a nation of resourceful and ultimately courageous people, who despite economic and political turmoil continue to produce coffee that astonishes professional like us across the globe.
We are exceptionally proud to offer the Burundi – Microlot 1 from the Bwayi washing station to our wholesale partners. In the cup we taste notes of sparkling ruby grapefruit with hints of herbaceous sage and dark chocolate which create a complex cup unlike any other. We hope this coffee, which was created with great hope, inspires you as well as your customers.