ORIGIN // Gakenke Hill, Kayanza Region, Burundi
IMPORTER // Cafe Imports
ALTITUDE // 1,650-1,950 masl
VARIETIES // Red Bourbon
PROCESSING METHOD // Washed
TASTE NOTES // Grapefruit, Raw Sugar, Pineapple Gummy
One of our favorite regions to source coffee from during the early parts of the year is East Africa. While some of these countries may not be as familiar, we think the cup profiles will speak to those who love Ethiopia and Kenya type coffees. If you’ve had a coffee from Burundi before, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, here’s some background on to what makes coffee from Burundi unique.
First, it is important to point out that coffee has been one of the primary sources of growth and income in Burundi, which is statistically the poorest country in the world. (The average annual income there is equal to about $700USD). Coffee has become a key means for the farmers to grow a crop that is not only sustainable, but when sold in the specialty market, can yield revenues that far exceed the annual income.
Farms in Burundi are small. Often, we do not have traceability back to individual farms, as farms produce only a few bags raw coffee in total. The country instead has focused on building community lots (often based on regional “hills”) as a central neighborhood hub. Individuals can bring their cherries in to the collective lot; and that hub also houses a washing and drying station. In this case, we are featuring a coffee from the Gakenke (Ga-ken-keh) community from the Kayanza region.
It’s rare to see an area of the world that grows red bourbon almost exclusively, but Burundi (and it’s neighbor Rwanda) are two regions that have made “bank” with it. It is an “old world” coffee variety with tons of floral, cocoa, and lime notes. And, while not the easiest to grow, it often has a taste profile that is super desirable.
This lot is a fully washed process lot, which was pulped and soaked in water 12-24 hours. After being washed for about two hours, it’s taken and dried on raised beds for about 20 days. In the cup, we taste dynamic notes of citrus (grapefruit), a sweet sugary type body, with floral and tropical notes that finish like a pineapple gummy candy.