In partnership with Cafe Imports, we’ve sourced this Benchmark Series coffee from the Rugoza Washing Station in the town of Muhanga, in Kayanza Province near the border with Rwanda. In Burundi, a landlocked country the size of Maryland, the coffee industry has grown as a way to recover from the civil war of the 1990s. It is a particularly poor country, with one of the lowest GDP in Africa, and recent years have brought renewed political struggles and unrest that hark back to very troubled times in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The country’s landlocked position on the continent is also tricky to navigate.
The Coffee | Due to common purchasing methods in the area, it is nearly impossible to source single-farmer coffees from Burundi. There are about 1,200 producers who contribute to Rugoza Washing Station, 150 of whom deliver cherry directly and another 1,000 more who use eight different local collection points.
Rugoza is a mix of Bourbon, Jackson, and Mibirizi varieties, a common combination for Burundi. Coffees from this co-op are grown at an average of 1560 meters above sea level, and are fully washed before drying.
Our Story | Evan Pollitt, Director of Coffee:
“I’m so stoked to have a Burundi in our lineup again! Burundi produces some amazing coffees but is still emerging as a specialty coffee force. As a country it produces a great variety of flavors. Rugoza stood out, not only on the cupping table but against Burundi coffees we have offered in the past. It has a juicy, fruit-forward flavor with a remarkably clean finish.
I roasted Rugoza to highlight the tropical fruit, juicy body, and clean finish that I loved from the cupping table. This lead to a radically different profile than most of our other coffees. I decided on a short fast roast that fully develop the body of the coffee while producing a cup that is fruity and clean. I was a little unsure how a production batch would turn out, the proof is in the cup.”