BURUNDI COFFEE, A women owned cooperative in Burundi: Drinking well by doing good.
Everyone like a good cup of coffee. A new Corti Brothers coffee selected by San Francisco’s famous Jeremiah Pick is a Busiga Region, Ngozi province, arabica coffee from the tiniest country in Africa, BURUNDI. This country--land locked in the Great Rift Valley in equatorial Africa--is bordered by Rwanda to the north, Tanzania to the east, and southeast, and the Democratic Republic of Congo to the west. Lake Tanganyika is its southwest border. Interestingly, the country is the source of the Nile River. The country’s history is besotted with trials and tribulations since before the beginning of the 20th century, and things have not improved much.
Enter: Jeanine Niyonzima-Aroian, born in Burundi and educated in the U.S. She has created a coffee export company called JNP Coffee that empowers women producers of Burundi coffee. Interestingly, coffee and tea, are two of the most important exports of Burundi, which exports mainly agricultural products. JNP has a network of some 206 Burundian women producers, part of the group International Women’s Coffee Alliance. Due to the efforts of these women, some men have asked to take part. The women growers pick the best cherries, hand sort them, and float the husks off the cherry and then dry them on raised beds. The specific area is in the Karehe growing region. JNP’s Jeanine’s, empowering movement, allows her to pay the women grower members well above the government minimum for cherry and then the women meticulously sort the beans for this bonus. This gives the women a real pick up in the GDP. By purchasing this coffee, you will drink well and do good at the same time.
All of this Burundian coffee is arabica, from old landraces--without any genetic modification--grown at between 1200 to 1900 meters high. Its flavor is a bright acidity, sweet, complex, with a full body. This is a wonderful example of what Americans like about coffee, especially when drunk with a bit of milk. I cannot imagine a better morning cup, nor for that matter, an afternoon one either.