Last batch roasted: 17/05/2021
A rich and intense, yet fresh washed peaberry selection from Long Miles’ Heza washing station
- Redcurrant, Molasses, Dark Chocolate
- Producer: Heza Farmers
- Region: Kayanza
- Altitude: 2000 masl
- Varietal: Bourbon
- Process: Washed
- Harvest: May 2020
- Optimal brew beyond: Filter 7 days | Espresso 21 days.
- RRP for 250 g: 135 kr.
- RRP for 1 kg: 504 kr.
About the coffee:
The Long Miles Project, founded by Ben and Kristy Carlson, opened its doors in 2013 and aims to raise the bar of specialty coffees coming out of Burundi. The project works with more than 4.500 individual coffee farmers living near two central washing stations, Bukeye, opened in 2013 and Heza, from 2014. 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 two washing stations in the northern Kayanza Province, near the border with Rwanda. Burundi is a very rural country, with only 13% of the population living in urban areas. Of this rural population, many are smallholder farmers, mainly subsistence with a small production of cash crops, such as coffee. This means that the support provided to these populations by projects like Long Miles is of great importance, and we feel committed to support their work in any way we can.
Climate change has had an effect on this year’s harvest in Burundi, with conditions straying wildy from established weather patterns. There was a great deal of rain during the flowering season, destroying some of the delicate coffee blossom, and a lack of rain during the ripening season led to reduced yield compared to projections. However, the 2020 harvest was much more successful than an incredibly difficult 2019, with yields up and logistics less disturbed. The Heza station sits at 1960 masl, and due to this the harvest here normally starts around two weeks later than Long Miles’ lower altitude station at Bukeye. 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, and the intention is to plant these all over the war-torn Burundi countryside in years to come.
This is a washed peaberry selection from the Heza Station. Sorting peaberries from a specific hill would result in a lot size that is far too small, so this lot is made up of cherries harvested on the Nkonge, Gitwe and Mutana hills. Heza uses a similar double fermentation process to that employed in Kenya, where the cherries are first depulped 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 for 15-20 minutes while singing traditional Burundian songs, before the coffee is moved to washing channels to be rinsed in clean water, and graded for density before travelling to the drying tables. Coffee is then dried slowly on raised beds, aiming to reach a moisture level of 10.5% in 20-30 days. In this lot this leads to typical Burundian fresh currant character, but is rather richer and more intense than the standard screen size sortings.