As we come into a new season (at least in terms of coffee) here in Singapore, let's take a closer look at one of our new exciting beans from a little known region of East Africa. I am of course talking about the honey process bourbon from the Heza Washing Station on Nkonge Hill, Burundi with its delicious notes of syrupy raspberry, vanilla bean and a smooth, lingering body.
Some of you might be scratching your head in confusion as to where exactly in the world Burundi is; I know when I first heard of this fine bean I had to have a quick Google geography brush-up. Let me be your search engine and give you a little run down on this small but promising coffee growing country.
Nestled between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo in East Africa, Burundi is a small country with a population of about 10 million people. It is one of the five poorest countries in the world with the lowest GDP on earth. Agriculture is their biggest industry, accounting for 58% of GDP and coffee is Burundi’s largest source of revenue, making up 93% of exports. So coffee is a big deal there!
Burundi has been producing coffee for decades, but has only recently looked to enter the specialty market. The underlying quality is undeniable and the producers’ desire to produce world class specialty coffee in this relatively young industry is encouraging.
One such star is a set down a winding six kilometre walk from the Heza Washing Station on Nkonge Hill, where water from the natural springs find its way to these hillside coffee farms, making sure the soil is always well irrigated. Nkonge’s high elevation, at 1200masl, fosters a denser, slower growing coffee bean which, coupled with the nutrient rich soil, produces some of the most floral and sweet cups in the Long Miles Coffee Project collection. Unlike coffee from well-established origins, the ‘typical Burundi coffee character’ is hard to isolate especially since the region has battled with the the greatest and smallest bug, the Antestia bug. This bug infects coffee cherries by drilling a small hole into the skin, once roasted and ground the overall effect is to make the coffee taste like raw potato. However, through schemes like the Long Miles Coffee Scouts, farmers are given the training and support they need to spot this defect in the beans before they reach the packer, creating a more reliable crop and producing the clean, fruity, sweet and complex cups that we have now come to expect from Burundian coffee.
Have you tried a cup of Burundi yet? Head down to the cafe from Thursday to try out a filter brew or grab a bag of your own from CMCR Online shop. Trust us, you won't be disappointed it's UnCommonly good.