Back from a three-week trip to Burundi, I am glad to be back in the U.S. with news to share from the first harvest. Yield is significantly smaller this year – about one-third of last year’s harvest. While this is disappointing, it’s not unexpected. The last three years have seen very strong yields, and the nature of coffee production is cyclical. There is an upside to this development, however, as fewer cherries can mean higher quality.
My journey home found me crisscrossing the countryside. We had cuppings at the national lab and our quality control lab in Bujumbura. We went into the fields and picked cherries in Kayanza and Ngozi, enjoying warm welcomes from the women farmers there. Our busy itinerary included a visit to Muyinga, where we met more women coffee farmers. Along the way, I travelled with five guests – a quality lab manager, a roaster and green coffee buyer, an importer from Belgium and two café owners. The roaster remained with me for most of the trip. We even had dinner at my mother’s house one night!
Natural coffee on the rise
Every harvest season has a theme, and this year it’s increased interest in natural processing for coffee. Cherries dry without de-pulping and overnight soaking in the water, saving precious water resources. The results are a sweeter cup with less acidity. We deepened relationships with more farmers in Ngozi and Kayanza, and also in Muyinga. Word is out that natural coffees are more environmentally responsible and expand the range of Burundi taste offerings.
Washing station’s first harvest
This was the first harvest for a new women’s cooperative washing station in Kayanza. A group pooled their savings from the premiums paid by JNP Coffee for their specialty coffee and other resources to build their own wet mill. They are well-positioned to profit from the growing number of coffee farmers in this region. By next year, they will be prepared for an increased volume of business. I enjoy my journeys to Burundi for the opportunities they provide for education and relationship-building with the people of my homeland.
JNP Coffee is a hit
Further afield, I am happy to report that JNP Coffee was represented at the World of Coffee, the professional conference organized by the Specialty Coffee Association in Berlin earlier this month. Coffee professionals sought out our brand, and we still have delicious micro-lots available in Europe.
Cuppings coming up
Keep an eye out for future cuppings for the 2019 harvest, which I’ll be doing around the U.S. during the summer. The first of the season will be on June 25 in New York City, the second one in Providence on July 2 and the third cupping in the LA area on July 17.
Let me know if you’d like a preview sample of our excellent coffee. With a smaller harvest, there will be fewer micro-lots available, so don’t wait to call or email firstname.lastname@example.org.