A rich and jammy natural lot from producers on the Nkonge hill, processed by Long Miles
Blackberry, Mango, Brown Sugar
Producer: Nkonge Hill Farmers
Altitude: 2000 masl
Harvest: May 2020
Optimal brew beyond: Filter 7 days | Espresso 21 days.
RRP for 250 g: 147 kr.
RRP for 1 kg: 552 kr.
About the coffee:
A hill is the smallest unit of separation in Burundi, like small communes, and most contain a couple of hundred smallholder farmers. We have purchased coffees grown on several of the hills in the past, and each seems to have their own distinct character. Nkonge is known for being rather quiet, with a slow pace of life not found elsewhere in the region. Dirt roads cut into the hill’s steep slopes, revealing panoramic views of banana trees and lush tea plantations. Sadly, life hasn’t always been so peaceful on Nkonge hill. The most recent civil war in Burundi brought great losses. Many farming families that fled returned to the hill only to find that their land had been divided or taken over by someone else. The high elevation of Nkonge fosters hard, slow growing coffee, and therefore intensity and complexity of flavour. Natural springs find their way out of the hill, making sure its soils are always well watered. Patches of onions, tea, wheat, cabbage, maize, cassava and peas can be found growing alongside coffee in the hill’s rich soils. With the help of coffee scouts Minani and Thierry, the scouts dedicated to the Nkonge hill, farmers are slowly rejuvenating their farms. The scouts are contributing greatly to farmers’ knowledge on growing and taking care of their coffee.
Nkonge is one of the hills that delivers cherry to Long Miles’ Heza station, alongside Gitwe and Mutana. The 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 lot was grown on the Nkonge hill and processed at the Heza station as a natural. Heza has only recently begun to produce naturally processed coffees, a relatively new phenomenon in Burundi. As there are less opportunities for sorting during processing when compared to a washed process, the incoming cherry has to be of very high quality. Coffees destined for natural processing are first painstakingly hand sorted by the team at Heza, as once the cherries begin to dry and blacken, it is very difficult to spot any defective seeds. After sorting, the cherries are transferred to raised drying beds and dried slowly for around 30 days, allowing the typical currant notes to soften into a jammy character, complemented by rich tropical sweetness.