Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the Burundi Bukeye Rubiziri, from Eastlick Coffee in Brooklyn, New York, courtesy of Craft Coffee. Feel free to pull up a chair.
The Bukeye Rubiziri lot is a remarkable production of mixed bourbon varietals that was processed at the Buhorwa processing station in the East African nation of Burundi. It was sourced by Crop to Cup, who began working with the Buhorwa processing station in 2009. Hundreds of thousands of Burundi’s smallholder coffee farmers rely on central processing stations like Buhorwa to wash and process coffee from smaller towns like Rubiziri. Such processing stations, when supported by partners like Crop to Cup, can drastically improve an origin’s potential for quality by applying its skilled processing methods to many farmers’ crops.
Burundi is a textbook example of how a nation can be perfectly suited for coffee production but suffer from poor access to information, few resources, and little support from the specialty market at large. Its high altitudes and heavy mountain rainfalls support more than 800,000 families growing coffee in the nation of 9 million, most of whom work with around one hectare of land. State controlled until 1986 with a mandate that emphasized high output over quality, Burundi coffee has seen immense improvements in quality over the last 10 years due largely in part to companies like Crop to Cup and their hands on methods. Often compared to Rwanda, its neighbor to the North on the Congo Nile divide, Burundi coffees are remarkably complex and vibrant, showcasing sweet, jammy fruit and floral notes and balanced by complex low notes of dark sugars and chocolate.*
origin: Bukeye, Burundi
farm: Kenya Chinga Mill
producer: smallholder farmers
association: Rubiziri Producer Group
elevation: 1760– 1890 meters above sea level
cultivars: Jackson Bourbon
process: fully washed, raised bed dried
The aroma of the Eastlick Coffee Burundi Bukeye Rubiziri is deep and intoxicating. Big scents of dark chocolate, cinnamon, nuts, and cranberry juice.
The flavor follows the nose, as I take my first few sips immediately post-brew. This full-bodied coffee has a thick, juicy mouthfeel and deep, voluptuous flavors. Very bold, powerful flavors, too; particularly of dark chocolate cocoa powder and honey. Further, right out of the gate, there is a rush of tart fruits that bites at the tongue. Tart cranberry juice, watermelon, and a mild lime acidity… What I’m most surprised by, though, is the massive presence of nuts and spices.
Most of my experiences with Burundian coffees provided what I’ve tasted so far in this cup: chocolate, fruit, florals… Those are pretty typical notes for this region. But this coffee also features roasted hazelnut, cinnamon, and clove nuances, making this one of the more complex Burundian coffees I’ve had in some time.
*content courtesy of Dispatch Coffee
Andrew is a husband, father, dog lover, craft beverage enthusiast, content creator, and niche market Internet celebrity. Formerly of A Table in the Corner of the Cafe and The Pulitzer Project and contributor to Barista Magazine and Mental Floss, he’s been writing on the Internet for years.