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La Cabra

Gitwe, Burundi

Gitwe, Burundi

Regular price $24.00
Regular price $30.00 Sale price $24.00
Sale Sold out

RD 7/26

Our first release of the year from our long term partners at the Long Miles Coffee Project in Burundi.

Here we find ripe and fresh currant notes, followed by the typically Burundi herbal rooibos notes in the finish.

The Long Miles Coffee Project

The Long Miles Project, founded by Ben and Kristy Carlson, began work in 2013, aiming to raise the bar of specialty coffees coming out of Burundi. The project works with more than 4.500 individual coffee farmers living near three central washing stations, Bukeye, opened in 2013, Heza, from 2014 and Ninga, which had its first harvest in 2020.

There are several reasons why producing speciality coffee in Burundi is an incredibly difficult task. There’s the incredibly unstable political situation, where government can change rules on coffee prices and production seemingly overnight, the geographical constraints that come with being a small landlocked country attempting to export coffee by sea freight, the constant threat of military coup.

But through it all the Carlson family have managed to establish themselves as producers and exporters of consistently delicious coffees, all the while providing some semblance of stability to the lives of smallholder farmers that surround their washing stations in the northern Kayanza Province, near the border with Rwanda.

This year has seen a big jump in production in Burundi. Excellent conditions earlier in 2022 led to both higher yields and excellent quality. The recovery of global supply chains has led to a much more straightforward harvest season, a welcome relief after 3 years of struggling to make ends meet. The 2022 harvest is almost at the level of the 2018 harvest, larger in volume than the 2019, 2020 and 2021 harvests put together.

Gitwe Hill

This washed lot is composed of cherry from the Gitwe hill, from which we have purchased several times in the past. Gitwe consistently produces excellent quality coffee, due in part to rich soils and high altitude. In fact, it was this hill that was chosen for Long Miles’ model farm, where they produce their own coffee as an example for agronomic techniques for surrounding farmers. Coffee farmers from the Gitwe hill deliver to Long Miles’ Heza station.

Heza sits at 1960 masl, so harvest normally starts around two weeks later here than at the lower altitude Bukeye station. This high altitude also leads to impressive views over the Kibira rainforest to Rwanda, which have given Heza its name; Heza means ‘beautiful place’ in Kirundi. Heza was built in January 2014, and now serves nearly 2,000 individual farmers. Heza also helps local farmers by supplying trees from a coffee tree nursery with over 15,000 seedlings.

"Excellent conditions on the Gitwe hill, seems to result in our favourite washed coffees year after year.."

Heza uses a double fermentation process, where the cherries are first de-pulped and fermented without water for around 12 hours, before water is added and the coffee is soaked for a further 12 hours. After this, the coffee is ‘footed’ to wash away the sticky mucilage layer attached to the outside of the coffee seed. This involves the workers stomping on the coffee in the tanks before it is moved to washing channels to be rinsed in clean water.

Coffee is then dried slowly on raised beds over 20-30 days, depending on weather conditions. This careful processing, along with excellent conditions on the Gitwe hill, seems to result in our favourite washed coffees year after year, with crisp and ripe redcurrant jam followed by a clean and herbal rooibos finish.

  • Producer

     Gitwe Farmers
  • Region

  • Altitude

     2000 masl
  • Varietal

  • Process

  • Harvest

     May 2022
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