Burundi

One of the all-time favourites among connoisseurs, greater accessibility and lower prices are opening up Burundi to more coffee-lovers than ever before. A delightfully rich and intense experience, most Burundi varieties are Bourbon or derivatives or Bourbon, which explains the intense sweetness and body perfectly. Grown exclusively at comparatively high altitudes, Burundi also has a pronounced acidity that brings real balance to the whole flavour profile. It makes one of the best espressos you’re ever likely to taste and could be just the thing to convert you to the gourmet side of the coffee community! Growing and Processing Burundi coffee comes from the capital of the Kayanza Province, where there are 21 stations all operating at a minimum of 1,500m above sea level. It’s both the soil and climactic conditions the coffee trees are exposed to that give Burundi its unique aroma and flavour characteristics. Of course, it’s not all about the growing process alone – the way the beans are harvested and processed always makes a big difference. The very best producers in the region continue to use traditional Burundian processing methods exclusively, which go back to the very origins of coffee production. It involves the hand-picked, hand-selected coffee cherries first being removed of pulp, before dry fermentation takes place in natural sunlight for around 12 hours. The freshest, cleanest mountain water is then used to fully wash the beans for up to 24 hours, in order to put a stop to the fermentation process. The separation of the beans in accordance with their density is also carried out traditionally – the beans being floated down water channels which automatically separate them. Last but not least, the beans are given another 12 to 18 hours soaking in fresh mountain water, before once again being laid out to dry on raised beds. It is a meticulous hard-fought production process that demands constant supervision at all times. History of Production Though the methods of production haven’t changed a great deal over the years, the Burundi coffee industry as a whole has evolved significantly. At its origins back in 1962, the coffee industry of Burundi was private. However, the state took over the industry in its entirety in 1976, resulting in all coffee factories and production sites being nationalised. The intention was to invest heavily in both the quality and quantity of coffee production for export purposes – goals which would eventually prove unreachable. By 2009, the decision was made to once again privatise the industry, as it remains today. Rather than focusing on upping output, those who remain at the forefront of Burundi coffee production today prefer to remain committed to traditional production processes, in order to maintain the quality and prestige of the product they export. All efforts which are paying off, as the Burundi coffee trade has never been stronger and nor has demand for this outstanding coffee ever been greater. It may have experienced turbulence along the way, but as things stand right now, the future for Burundi coffee has never looked brighter.

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