Although, we’ve bought from Long Miles for 5 years, this is my first year choosing a lot from Gitwe (and also the first time I’ve bought from their Heza washing station). Why, you may ask, if the coffee is so good? Great question! It’s because it was never dried well. And a coffee that is not dried well will never arrive in YYC tasting good, which is what we work so hard to bring you (see above again). Credit to Long Miles in this department. They’ve worked really hard on their drying and combined with a nice bout of favorable, dry weather in June/July 2019, this coffee was dried nearly perfectly. So, I was thrilled to snatch it up.
The synergy of the Long Miles staff is really something special, and it feels more like a family than a company. Each year I visit, I meet caring, conscientious people with both an eye for quality and operations, balanced with a strong desire to just do good.
It’s undeniable to me that this attitude shines through in the coffee. The farmers submitting their coffee cherries and workers at the washing stations are happy and proud to work for such an organization, and it’s clear their quality of life benefits from Long Miles’ presence there. Additionally, Long Miles’ higher payments and higher quality standards raise the bar at those washing stations that surround them, creating a real positive impact in the Burundian coffee sector at large.
Despite the civil unrest present there, Burundi’s specialty coffee is developing, and the quality of coffees being produced are 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 - to Burundi before honing in on the Gaharo Hill area to begin their Coffee Project.
The Heza washing station processes coffee from five “hills”: Nkonge, Mutana, Mikuba, Gitwe, and Gishubi. This level of coffee lot separation is very rare for East Africa, and is just one of many unique Long Miles initiatives. The list of impressive initiatives seems nearly endless!
This coffee was frozen immediately on arrival in Calgary, to preserve freshness. Yeah baby!