It’s hard to over-exaggerate how much we’ve been looking forward to Burundi coffees returning to the states. Let’s just say it’s been a VERY long wait for the most recent harvest to finally arrive. We were particularly excited to see this offering from JNP Coffee return since we thought it was stellar and Royal Coffee even selected it to be a Crown Jewel last year. And this year? I don’t know how they did it, but it’s even better and Royal thought so too!
If you are a big fan of natural processed Ethiopian coffees, you’re going to love this one. This year’s lot is chock full of fruit and berry. The main thing we noticed over last year is it’s got a very “candy” vibe this time around – think watermelon candy, orange juice, and strawberry jam flavors. I’m talking INTENSELY sweet! It’s also a pleasure to roast and was very responsive and predictable in our sample roasts. It’s full bodied with a silky to creamy texture and delightful complexity. Finally, in addition to the fruit and berry notes we mentioned earlier, it’s got a lovely compliment of milk chocolate.
Reminder! This coffee is raw, you must roast it before brewing
Arrival Date: April 7, 2023. US Arrival: March 2023. Packed in GrainPro
Acidity & Brightness: Moderately bright and very sweet
Balance & Finish: Slightly complex with a fairly clean finish
Body & Texture: Full bodied and silky to creamy texture
Flavors: Watermelon candy, strawberry jam, orange juice & milk chocolate
Grade: Grade 1, Grown at 1715 masl
Processing: Full natural and sun-dried on raised beds
Grower: Smallholder farmers organized around Bavyeyi III processing station
Region: Gashoho, Muyinga Province
Varieties: Local bourbon cultivars
Recommended Roast Range: City to Full City (Light to medium)
Start at City (light) or just into a rolling first crack and go a bit darker as desired. Natural processed coffees almost always present their best on the lighter end of the roasting spectrum. We find it best not to go any darker than Full City (Medium, after the end of first crack) and most folks will prefer a City+ or at the tail end of first crack. Light roasts will have a touch more acidity while medium roasts will accentuate more rounded chocolatey sweetness and body.
Royal Coffee - "Jeanine Niyonzima-Aroian, the founder of JNP Coffee, is without a doubt one of the most influential individuals in Burundi coffee today. Raised in the capital city of Bujumbura, Jeanine would go on to earn an MBA from Northwestern University’s prestigious Kellogg School, cycle through corporate America, and eventually reconnect with her birth country by founding Burundi Friends International, a not-for-profit funding educational and economic empowerment programs for rural Burundians, which is now in its 13th year. After a few years marketing Burundi coffees stateside for friends and family, Jeanine realized she had every reason to lead the business, and JNP Coffee was born.
Muyinga province is lesser known for coffee than Kayanza or Ngozi provinces to the west, but that is precisely why Jeanine and her quality team were interested in investing here. Burundi, like Rwanda to its north, is a gifted territory for coffee: elevations are consistently high, soils are generously fertile, and its arabica cultivars are unique to the rest of the coffee-producing world. Muyinga province is no exception, but has not seen the same level of investment as the more developed producing regions closer to Bujumbura. JNP has for years managed a processing station in Ngozi, whose popularity has grown over time. This past harvest they began receiving cherry from yet another group of farmers, from the Gashoho municipality just over the border in Muyinga. Bavyeyi in Kirundi translates to “parents,’’ a name given to honor the generations of hardworking parents, like Jeanine’s own, whose labor in coffee (something many farming families either do not consume or cannot afford to consume) provides shelter, nourishment, and educational opportunities to their children. While this lot is uniquely coffee harvested by Gashoho farmers, the total number of farmers contributing to Bavyeyi is now over 2,000. All participating farmers qualify for JNP’s Dushime program, a second-payment incentive for delivering the highest quality, which is paid at the end of each harvest, and which varies from 20-40 cents per pound.
Drying naturals in the high and cool Ngozi climate is a painstakingly slow process, often taking 20-30 days to complete, during which the coffee is continuously circulated for even air exposure. Despite having one of the longest drying periods in the world, the cup profile is noticeably balanced and crisp.”