Mikuba – Burundi

Photo by : Long Miles Coffee Project, Burundi

Ripe citrus fruits, strawberry, rose petal, green apple

Farm : Multiple small farms
Washing Station : Heza
Variety : Red Bourbon

Process : Natural
Region : Kayanza
Micro-region : Mikuba Hill
Altitude (masl) : 1850-2057m
Harvest Method : Handpicking

This coffee, as all our coffees from Burundi, comes from the Long Miles Coffee Project. A remarkable farmer-focused initiative by a small American family who is truly a source of inspiration and an example where perseverance,  hard work, risk-taking and having love toward people can take you.

Kristy and Ben Carlson started out with a dream to facilitate direct relationships between roasters and farmers, and as a result better the quality of coffee and the lives of the farmers. After a while of sourcing coffee around Burundi the Carlson’s decided to build their own washing station. This seemed like the only way to gain total control over coffee quality and the processing as well as making sure the farmers get good compensation for all their hard work.

Their washing station, Heza has a total of 2500 farmers delivering coffee and over 150 employees to produce the best quality coffee possible. They have one team that is responsible for the cherry selection, quality monitoring, farmer reception, and coffee production. Another, female-driven team taking responsibility for extensive quality control and artisanal curation of coffee parchment.

Natural Processing

Natural Processing or dry process, as it’s also known means that coffee cherries are dried as a whole. With the flesh and mucilage of the cherry still intact to the bean. This kind of method is the original way of processing coffee beans and has its backgrounds in Ethiopia. It may take up to 4 weeks before the cherries reach their desired moisture content. After this, the now leather like flesh of the cherry is hulled off the beans before they are ready to be sorted.

Natural processing often enhances the sweet, ripe fruit flavors of coffee. It is also the most eco-friendly way of processing because it requires the least amount of water. If not monitored properly this method has the potential to create defects and unwanted flavors. But when done correctly the results can be quite remarkable.

Heza is a great place for natural and honey processing because of the station’s fantastic conditions and the amount of ripe, dense cherries brought there. LMCP has a six-hour pick-to-process quality timing mark that means that coffee cherries arriving at the station get straight into processing. Its natural unique ‘bowl’ location also helps in this process a lot by providing natural air circulation that helps to control drying.

Read more about the Long Miles Coffee Project on their website!