The coffee sector of Burundi is set up around a series of government-run washing stations or private buyers who sell to those government stations. With a small selection of outlets for farmers, it’s common for practices to be unfair and prices undercut. Since every station is required to purchase at a preordained rate set by the nation’s coffee board, no single farmer can produce enough to make ends meet. With land scarce in the wake of civil war, the average farmer’s plantation doesn’t stretch much further than 300 trees. As long as the market is set on quantity and not quality, it is impossible to bridge the sustainability gap. 

In recent years, however, the specialty coffee community and reputable green buyers have turned an eye toward Burundi as a potential haven for high quality coffee. This diamond in the rough lit a passion in the hearts of Ben and Christy Carlson, founders of the Long Miles Coffee Project. 

Ben and Christy live what they preach. Their spirit of transparency, which we share, led their coffee to our roaster. The Carlson family started with a dream to create direct relationships between roasters and farmers. As a result, they bettered the lives of the farmers and the coffee that they provide. After a few years of sourcing coffee from Burundi, Ben and Christy decided to build their own washing station, Bukeye, in the Kayanza region of Burundi in 2013. By providing the surrounding 2,500 farmers with a fair place to sell their crop at independent and higher prices, Long Miles changed the way the world is consuming Burundi coffee and, in turn, the lives of Burundi’s farmers. This station controls its prices and production, which allows fair treatment of the farmers who dedicate their lives to their crop. In doing this the Carlson family finally realized and their dream for higher standards of life and product. Now, it is Blueprint Coffee’s privilege to present these ideas and cup to you.

Team Taste Notes: strawberry, blueberry, cranberry, bubble gum, lemon, grape

1800 – 2000 MASL
French Mission Bourbon
May – July 2017
the Collaborative Coffee Source
Mikuba Cut Sheet
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