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Burundi – August, 2007

After the airline debacles in Malawi and Kenya we were equally as equally excited not see another airport for a week as were to cup through the 30+ washing stations samples we had waiting for us.

It’s a constant struggle to find the right people to work with in supply chain. Sometimes it just feels right. Burundi is one of those cases. From the cuppers at the coffee board to the exporter to importer everything has just felt right since our initial visit in April.

Our exporter partner had 31 samples lined up for us to cup upon arrival to Bujumbura. Of course we couldn’t take our grand old time with it either as we had to be in Butare, Rwanda that evening in order to be on time for the Rwanda Golden Cup cupping competition that opened the following morning.

We made it through the first table of 10 coffees. Even though a couple of coffees were decent, there wasn’t anything worth purchasing yet. As the QC manager for the coffee board finished grinding the 2nd table’s samples, I began to stick my nose in the cups to smell the fragrance of the coffees. BINGO! Sweet citrus and floral notes had me wide-awake from the prior table’s daze. I’m completely entrenched in thought as to how that coffee is actually going taste when I’m struck with very similar sweet citrus and floral notes again. This is why I suffered through the tumultuous travel torture! I was about to cup two diamonds in the rough and bring home something great for the Stumptown.

Not only did these coffees hold their own with grace through the cupping process, it turns out that they come from processing stations right next to each other, in Northern Burundi. This is exactly the sign we’re looking for. Not only are the varietals superior in Burundi, with abundant plantings of SL28 and Bourbon, but the terroir of this region seems to be particularly special. Look for a little taste of two wonderful Burundian coffees this winter and whole lot more of them for years to come!

After a quick lunch with the Burundian ex-Prime Minister, and exporters, we jumped in our rig and made our journey across the border to Butare for the 1st ever Rwandan Golden Cup cupping competition!

-Aleco