Burundi Gishubi

Tasting Notes





About this Coffee

This delicious single-origin coffee was brought to our attention by Long Miles Coffee Project, a micro-lot company focusing on farmer-driven coffee production in Burundi.

We instantly fell in love with the lemon zest and allspice notes in this lot’s spicy and sweet flavor profile.


In Burundi, farmer groups are often organized by the hills that they live on. This coffee was produced by smallholder farmers who live on the hill of Gishubi, in the Kayanza Province of northern Burundi near the border with Rwanda. Gishubi, which is just a stones throw away from the indigenous Kibira Forest, is one of the contributing hills to the Heza Coffee Washing Station. The cool mist of the forest creates a slightly cooler micro-climate that causes the cherries to mature slowly, resulting in sweeter and more complex tasting coffees. Sadly, the hill’s proximity to the forest has also resulted in it becoming a theater of war during times of conflict. Armed groups often use the forest for concealment and forcefully collect people’s possessions, crops, and livestock. Farmers have no choice but to abandon their fields and children are not able to go to school.

Switch-backing up mountainsides and across small, hand-built log bridges, visiting Heza Washing Station is an off-road adventure. The Heza Washing Station is remotely located and the community that lives in the surrounding hills is comprised mostly of coffee farmers with small plots of land.

This coffee was brought to our attention by Long Miles Coffee Project (LMCP), a company founded in 2013 by Ben and Kristy Carlson that focuses on farmer-driven coffee production. Ben and Kristy moved to Burundi in 2011 and quickly noticed that injustice and poor farming practices had permeated the country’s newly privatized coffee industry. They also realized that roasters around the world had a difficult time getting great coffees from Burundi consistently as a result. In an effort to see positive change in both farmers’ and roasters’ lives, Long Miles Coffee was born.

LMCP is a microlot business, and all of their infrastructure, systems, employees, and marketing are designed to support unique and fully traceable coffees. Doing so in Burundi is especially difficult because farms produce very little cherry and are scattered across broad and remote landscapes. Such an effort requires sustainable prices to support, so only high quality coffees can be a part of their program. Fortunately, LMCP excels at identifying landscapes and communities with potential and invests heavily in farmer livelihood. LMCP separates the coffee from every hill and delivery day until processing and a quality assessment have been completed, setting them apart from many other washing station operators in Burundi.

The Heza Coffee Washing Station was the second processing site built by LMCP, who now work with more than 5,500 farmers across 11 different hills between their 3 washing stations. Heza means ‘beautiful place’ in Kirundi, the national language of Burundi, and with breathtaking panoramic views, this washing station lives up to its name.

291 farmers across Gishubi hill are registered partners with LMCP and receive not only highly competitive prices and post-harvest premiums for their cherry, but also farm-level trainings covering canopy and fertilizer development, pruning, harvesting for quality, and integrated pest management. These trainings are all provided by local “Coffee Scouts”, LMCP’s team of community-based trainers who serve as local instructors. The education and high prices have helped many of LMCP’s farmers renew their faith in coffee as a long-term livelihood.