Situated in the central highlands of Burundi, the Gitega Province is known for its agricultural diversity. The combination of tropical highland climate, elevation and ample rainfall create ideal growing conditions for coffee. Coffee cherries from Gitega tend to retain water for longer, which in turn makes them mature slowly throughout the season. This longer maturation period allows complex sugars to develop, lending to sweeter, more complex flavor profiles.
Mwizero is known for producing high quality coffee—they were awarded the Cup of Excellence in 2014—so it’s no surprise that this coffee stood out to us on the cupping table. This coffee is made up of multiple small-holder farms, with farmers typically owning between twenty to fifty trees. Once the coffee has been harvested, it is brought to the Kibuye washing station for processing. Coffee from this washing station is diligently sorted before and after washing to ensure quality.
Coffee cherries in this region retain their water for a longer period of time, which slows the maturation process. This allows complex sugars to develop, which gives the coffee added depth of flavor. Immediately after the coffee has been picked, it is de-pulped and fermented in fresh stream water at the Kibuye washing station. Once the coffee seeds have dried, they are meticulously hand sorted using large flatwoven baskets, known as urutaro, to remove excess parchment and defects prior to dry milling.
We were introduced to this coffee by JNP Coffee, who works closely with farmers in Burundi to refine practices related to growing, harvesting and processing. This coffee grabbed our attention on the cupping table with its exceptional balance of bright acidity, complex sweetness and rich body and we hope that this will be a staple on our menu for years to come.