You'll notice that this is a washed coffee. This is very intentional. Although I want to like naturally processed coffees from Burundi, and I've bought them in the past, they just don't hold up well enough, and they arrive faded and often a bit musty. This washed coffee, on the other hand, is still vibrant, clean, and sweet with creamy mouthfeel. All signs of green coffee in good condition.
Although my last visit to Burundi was pre-pandemic in 2019, I've been liaising with Long Miles from abroad since then. They've been busy. Starting projects in both Kenya and Uganda, Long Miles is bringing their unique approach to coffee to other areas of East Africa. I'm looking forward to exploring the results of their work in those two countries as well. Back in Burundi, they're still doing some really cool things. They are in the process of installing solar panels at their Heza and Ninga mills. This is a big deal as it removes their dependence on fuel to run their mill, which is often in short supply.
Additionally, it will provide for better light at the station for quality sorting and safety, and although we all take it for granted, it will also allow power for computers and phones for staff and farmers.
I continue to be moved by the mission of Long Miles to not only produce stellar coffee but also their: 'Dedication to positively impact the coffee farming communities in which we work. To us, coffee creates community and for that, we are forever grateful.'
To help assist and develop quality on each Hill, Long Miles employs 'scouts' named Chantal and Salvador. They work alongside farmers every day on Ninga Hill. They focus mainly on teaching selective cherry picking and sorting. To make the coffee even better, they are also teaching farmers to plant green manures and shade trees on their farms to reduce the acidity of the soils and create a cooler, more stable environment for the coffee to grow in.
Burundi's specialty coffee is developing, and the quality of coffees produced there is truly world-class. This quality potential coupled with an opportunity to affect change in one of the world's poorest countries is what attracted Ben and Kristy Carlson, the founders of Long Miles Coffee Project. And it's their passion and committed team that attract me to Burundi and motivates me to focus on their coffee, despite the challenges that each season presents.
As always, this green coffee was frozen immediately on arrival in Calgary, to preserve freshness.