Last batch roasted: 29/03/21
A crisp berry-driven lot from producers on the Nkonge hill, processed by Long Miles
- Redcurrant, Honey, Rooibos
- Producer: Nkonge Hill 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:
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 is a washed lot from the Nkonge hill, processed at the Heza Station. 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, balanced by concentrated sugary sweetness.