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The pillow at the office

There’s a pillow in the office at the Turihamwe Turashobora wet mill. It belongs to Pauline Ntaconkurikira, one of Burundi’s few female wet mill owners. She knows it takes time to ensure exceptional coffee. Her commitment to quality means that sometimes she works so late she will sleep at the wet mill.

I met with Pauline (and saw her pillow!) during my recent monthlong trip back home to Burundi. But I landed first in Rwanda and then spent several days in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Burundi's only Q graders, Gilbert Horugavye and Jeanine Niyonzima-Aroian

The king requires a goat

My goal was to learn more about the coffee industry in the DRC. But before seeing any wet mills, I had to pay my respects to local royalty. From Bukavu, you need to cross Lake Kivu to reach Idjwi Island, also called Peace Island. It’s a beautiful area, a place I had not visited before. We brought gifts to our presentation to the queen, Madame Esperance Kajangu. Only then did we have permission to meet King Rubenga Gervais.

Tradition requires that you present the king with a goat. As this was not possible, given my journey of several days from the U.S., we determined that a financial gift would be an acceptable substitute.

Only then could I see the country’s wet mills. The coffee industry in the DRC remains in a developing stage, but a promising alternative to mining for their people that promotes peace and creates business opportunities for women and youth. I offered some advice for their operations and access to JNP Coffee’s quality lab in Bujumbura. This land holds much potential, but more knowledge is needed for their coffee farmers to succeed in the specialty coffee market.

Dushime™ payments welcomed

Traveling back to Burundi, we visited the farmers whose Incuti coffee sold well in the last harvest. With fewer restrictions in place now, we could finally bring them their Dushime™, second payments from JNP Coffee for producing this high-quality coffee.

One farmer, Christine, told me the premium supports her commitment to continue carefully tending her coffee trees, including bringing hay to protect the trees for better quality cherries. The timing was just right for Beatrice, whose premium helped pay for celebrations at the end of the school year for her children. And Bonaventure said that the premium will help him take care of his household’s needs.

Rewarding these hard-working farmers helps to sustain the coffee industry in Burundi and reinforces the value of learning new practices to produce the superior coffee that Burundi is rightly known for.

Dedicated commitment to quality

In both Kayanza and Ngozi provinces, I could see beautiful ripe, red cherries coming into wet mills for processing. At the women’s washing station, the devotion and close attention to quality from Pauline and her fellow co-owners shone through – the Turihamwe coffee processed at their mill scored the highest among the new harvest and first cuppings held at JNP Coffee’s lab in Bujumbura. Gilbert Horugavye grades and scores coffee together with me at our lab. We are currently the only two certified Q graders in Burundi. We are proud of Gilbert’s representation of JNP Coffee at origin.

Turihamwe is available both fully washed and natural and is in good supply. Its sweet and citrus flavors have consistently scored well since the washing station began operations in 2019.

Turihamwe cherries turned and drying on African raised beds

Limited quantities available for pre-order

We are now taking orders for micro-lots of this year’s harvest. Our harvest was smaller this year, so order as soon as you can.

Supplies of our exceptional Turihamwe, Incuti, Bavyeyi and Ubuto coffees delivered to U.S. ports earlier this year remain available. Call me at 858-518-7437 or email me at to place your order.

I look forward to connecting with you.


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