Feb. 10, 2020
We are launching our new arrivals of Burundi from this harvest (links below). They arrived here in Oakland this month, and it's been exciting to cup and review the array of flavors from one of our favorite coffee-producing countries.
Why do we love Burundi so much? The first reason is the cup quality. Burundi is amazing. Coffee generally comes from old Bourbon-type coffee varieties, the traditional plant that was cultivated hundreds of years ago on the island of Bourbon (now Reunion). Along with the altitudes, often 1850-2000 meters, and the incredible labor to harvest ripe coffee and process with care, Burundi is a coffee we love as tasters and drinkers.
Kibingo Station, Kayanza, another station we bought last year at night. Cherry is coming in and being sorted buy farmers. The crop was very small in many parts of the country, but quality was good.
The other factor to love is the way coffee premiums, higher prices we pay for quality coffee, matter so much to the small farmers here. The dividend to the farmer is most obvious with the cooperative coffees we buy from Burundi, but is also paid by the private stations we get coffee from too.
For some this comes as higher initial payments for coffee cherry, and many also have a second payment bonus, or other benefits. That might be free coffee plants for improving future harvest, training in agronomy, or in the case of Agahore and Greenco, free goats to help create organic compost!
We have a lot of material online from our many trips to Burundi over the years. A youtube video I made a few years ago captures the work at one station we have bought from for many seasons, the coop Kazozanikawa. The name means “the future is coffee," representing the stake these farmers have in their joint effort. We buy from their site called Mpemba in the Kayanza area, although what is shown here is true for most of the other coops we buy from (no so much the kids on wooden bikes tho!):
After the last harvest, I gave a talk about coffee pricing and cost of production that focuses mostly on Burundi. This brings up a lot of the nuanced problems around fair pricing, the role of the coffee buyer, farmer, and government in trying to find something that benefits all involved (and particularly those with the least power, the coffee producer.) It's a long talk, but important to us here at Sweet Maria's/Coffeeshrub:
Check out the new lots now available!
Burundi Mutambu Colline Migoti - Sweet Maria's / Coffee Shrub
Burundi Rwiri Yagikawa Station - Sweet Maria's / Coffee Shrub
View our entire Burundi lineup - Sweet Maria's / Coffee Shrub