Burundi Mutuna Hill

The Story - 

Mutana’s hills seem to roll into infinity. The hills are covered in a never-ending tapestry of green and possess the most breathtaking panoramic views. The edge of the Kibira forest looms only a  couple of kilometres away which allows mist to fall from the forest and tumble onto farmers’  fields daily. With its mix of silty and sandy soils,  Mutana can grow everything its people like to eat. Wheat,  cassava, potato, onions, peas, beans, sweet potato, passion fruit and tea are grown alongside coffee to sustain Mutana’s farming families throughout the year. Tucked far away in the heart of the hill, hidden well beyond eye’s reach, is a waterfall. In order to reach it you’d have to scramble down a steep hill covered in eucalyptus trees, cross over a small river, pass through a tea plantation and follow a narrow dirt track- but we can guarantee the experience would be worth it.

Right at the tip of Mutana hill lays the burial site of great Kings. It is protected by a forest of aged trees and tangled vines that remains untouched. As a sign of respect for the past Kings and also out of fear for what lies within, no one travels through the graveyard. This was once a hill revered for its invincibility. Many people who fled from their homes in other regions would take refuge in the rolling greens of Mutana because they knew they would be protected here. Sadly,  the hill was not left untouched by the most recent war. Many families left,  abandoning their farms and the place they once called home.

CHALLENGES:  Life is hard on Mutana hill for those that did return. Most farmers cannot afford to buy fertilizer for their fields.  Climate change is a growing problem. The hot East African sun scorches crops and the delayed rainy season sometimes means people go hungry.

THE  SCOUTS:  Coffee scout Oswald works closely with farming families on  Mutana. If you ask him about his vision for the hill, he will tell you that he wants to boost the number of farms so that people can produce more coffee and develop as a community. He is teaching farmers to prune their coffee trees and encouraging them to plant new ones. With his help, farmers are pioneering the way for organic fertilizer by mixing dried grass and sawdust together with manure from their livestock.   

THE  FUTURE:  In the future, the farmers on Mutana hill hope to have access to enough fertilizer to increase their coffee yields. They are also planning to receive more coffee seedlings to rejuvenate their plantations.

Nerdy Coffee Stuff - 

This coffee is grown by 1535 smallholder coffee farmers on the Mutuna hill, at staggering altitudes of 2023 - 2165m above sea level. These high altitudes, combined with the unique micro-climate of Mutana hill gives this coffee incredible deep sweetness and complexity.

After ripe coffee cherries are picked by the farmers on Mutuna hill, they are brought to the nearby Heza washing for processing. Here, they are depulped and fermented for 12 hours, before being rinsed and soaked for another 6. After, they are dried under shade for 2 days, where they are intensely sorted, before being moved out into the sun onto patios to finish drying for a further 14 days.

Traceability - 

We bought this coffee directly from our friends at the Long Miles Coffee Project, and brought it stateside with the help of Olam. We paid $4.75 / lb and cupped it at an 87.25.

Brew Guide - 

Filter Coffee - Kalita Wave

24g in - 350g out -1:14.5 Ratio - 3:30 Total brew time.  Start with a 60g bloom with a stir, for 30 seconds. Then, pour quickly to 200g. At 1:00, start pouring 50g pulses every 20 seconds until you reach 350g. 

This recipe incorportates a stronger ratio, and lots of agitation, bringing out the intense sweetness that this coffee has. You will find big sweetness like cane sugar and butterscotch, green grape, stonefruit like plum and a lovely balanced acidity, with slight savoury undertones.

Espresso - 

19.5g in - 44g out - 28-32 seconds.

As an espresso, this coffee also gets incredibly sweet, but you have to also be wary of the acidity which can get a little out of control at stronger ratios. You will find flavours of honey and brown sugar, a juicy citrus acidity and buttery mouthfeel. In milk, you get this almost gingersnap kind of thing going on.