A hill in northern Burundi, Nkonge, is the origin of this intensely sweet and bright coffee, bursting with flavours of fresh passion fruit and yellow plum.
The coffee is produced by Long Miles Coffee Project which is run by Ben & Kristy Carlson. They moved to Burundi in 2011 and saw that both injustice and poor farming practices flowed through the country's coffee industry. They also saw that roasters around the world had a hard time getting consistently good coffee from Burundi. In an endeavour to see a positive change in both farmers’ and roasters’ lives, Long Miles Coffee was born.
In recent years, Long Mile's challenges have gone from difficult to positive. For three years in a row the yield was extremely low, but in 2022 they turned it around and thanks to their hard and meticulous work they got a fantastic harvest with lots of high-quality coffee. Suddenly the challenge was to take care of all the coffee cherries at the washing station instead. A very welcome problem.
Thanks to our Christmas campaign where SEK 10 per kilo Christmas coffee we sold went directly to a project where we put solar cells on the roof of the Heza washing station, next year's post-harvest work will be even more efficient!
At the roastery, we simply call them "Long Miles". We have worked closely with them since 2014 and know each other very well by now. At harvest, they always send a lot of samples based on our discussions throughout the year and what they think may appeal to us. There are always a lot of good coffees and some that really stands out in a crowd.
Nkonge has a special place in the heart of Long Miles, here is where they have their own small farm where they experiment and develop their knowledge on their 5,300 coffee trees. They then share this knowledge with their almost 400 coffee farming neighbours. Together they have planted shade trees, pruned their trees to perfection, composted and used natural fertilisers, all which has contributed to significantly raising the quality of the coffee in the area. The coffee farmers have also learned something else, equally important: The more and better they invest in their farms and trees, the better they get paid.
Heza washing station is located right next to the coffee farms which means that the producers no longer have to make long journeys by foot to distant washing stations, nor sell their crop at a low price to have someone come pick it up. Today, 400 farmers from Nkonge deliver coffee to the nearby washing station Heza - and get paid well for the high quality they produce!
Burundi Nkonge is a natural processed coffee, which means that the coffee beans are dried in their cherries. When the coffee cherries arrive at Heza they are processed according to the Honey method. The first step is sorting out all cherries that are not perfectly ripe through so-called density-sorting, also called ‘floating’. As the term reveals, water is used as both unripe and overripe cherries float to the surface faster than the perfectly ripe ones and can be easily picked off.
After that the cherries are also sorted by hand before being placed on drying tables. There they spend 25-30 days drying, depending on the weather. The deep red coffee cherries slowly transform to a prune-like purple-black colour, until reaching the ideal 10.5% moisture level. Then the beans are dry enough not to risk getting bad, but still retain as much as possible of their flavours. Now the coffee beans are separated from the dried cherry. Finally, the coffee is sorted one last time and placed in bags where the coffee rests for a few weeks before it is ready to be sent to us.
This whole process requires a lot of care and is one of the things that sets good washing stations apart from the rest. The result is a fantastic specialty coffee full of nuanced flavours!
Name: Burundi Nkonge
Producer: Long Miles Coffee
Farm: Nkonge & Gitwe
Altitude: 2000 m
Variety: Red Bourbon
Flavour: Pomegranate, passion fruit, yellow plum
LONG MILES COFFEE PROJECT
A TRIO FROM BURUNDI
Being able to offer a coffee from Long Miles Coffee in Burundi, with whom we have a long and close relationship, always feels super fun and exciting. I bet you can imagine the feeling when we now release three coffees from there at the same time – pure bliss! The coffees come from three different hills and after harvest they are all gathered at the Heza washing station, where they are processed with three different post-harvest methods. Another thing that connects them all is an amazing clarity and juiciness with vibrant fruity flavours.