- John Gibson
Long Miles split up the production of their mills by ‘hills’ or ‘collines’ in French. These are 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. Both of your coffees this month come not only from the same project, but the same hill. We have purchased from Gitwe hill in the past, but this year we are proud to present to you both the washed and natural processed version. Both coffees showcase very different aspects of Burundian terroir, but a string of distinct Gitwe fruit character runs through both, a testament to the high quality of work at the station, in sorting, fermentation and drying, and to the support Long Miles have given to the smallholder farmers that supply them.
You can read more on the history of the project at http://www.longmilescoffeeproject.com/history-harvests/
Gitwe carries deep scars from its violent past. Yet, there is an unrivalled unity amongst the people here. They have worked hard to develop as a community, coming together to build schools for their children and homes for their neighbours. With the help of Anicet and Patrice, the two coffee scouts dedicated to working on the hill, they are learning best farming practices. Before the scouts, farmers weren’t aware of the harm antestia bugs – the insect linked to the potato defect - could cause to their coffee. There was no one to show them how to prune their trees or explain why it was important. They didn’t know how to mulch or fertilize their farms. The scouts’ hard work has renewed farmers’ interest in growing coffee through several innovative projects, designed to increase quality and consistency, and to reengage farmers in the everyday work of farming. For example, Gitwe farmers are now pioneering a way of irrigating their coffee by building water channels alongside their farms. These channels collect rain water, and through a system of pipes and soaks, slowly irrigate their coffee trees and other crops.
The coffees this month are quite different in character, the washed process lot has a more classic acidity-forward profile, typical of Burundi, with notes of gooseberry and redcurrant. This is rounded out by a honey sweetness, and a distinct rooibos tea finish. The long drying time of the natural process lot leads to a rounder and softer sweetness and mouthfeel, but the fine acidity carries through, keeping the experience clean, and allowing the Gitwe currant and berry like fruit structure to shine. Burundi produces some of our favourite coffees here at La Cabra, and these two coffees excellently showcase two very different sides of the Burundian terroir.
We are excited to share these different expressions made through different processes.
La Cabra is a modern coffee roastery based out of Aarhus and Copenhagen, Denmark. Every month we ship out two unique coffee experiences and provide insight into how these coffees were grown and processed by talented producers.Subscribe Learn More coffee line-up