For the past three years Passenger has purchased the lion's share of our Burundi coffees from the Long Miles Coffee Project. Driven by a desire to connect coffee producers in Burundi (a landlocked East African country that is less than one quarter the size of the state of Pennsylvania) with coffee roasters around the world, Long Miles started by focusing on sourcing coffees in this colorful country and has moved into becoming coffee producers themselves. Though the process by which the Long Miles Coffee Project brings coffee to market has changed since its inception, the passion of using coffee and story telling as tools to empower coffee producers in Burundi has remained central. These photos were taken in June of 2018 during a visit to Burundi. Be sure to check out www.longmilescoffeeproject.com to learn more about this remarkable project. Later this year we will do a blog post detailing the work this amazing group is doing. For now we hope you enjoy these pictures!
It is not legal to propagate varieties other than heirloom Bourbon in Burundi. While this is limiting for visionaries like Ben and Kristy Carlson who essentially enable some of the coffee world's smallest producers to achieve relatively direct market access and who could successfully market exotic or boutique varieties, it could also be viewed as a net positive when compared to other countries who have historically favored cherry quantity at the sacrifice of cup quality and encouraged the planting of hybrids. That, however, is a very loaded topic and too deep for the scope of a picture caption!
I do not typically share random pictures of people from origin. I try to be conscious of not using people as marketing material unless it is genuinely educational and/or helps push the industry forward in any way, regardless of how infinitesimal that forward motion may be. That said, when people come up to me and ask me to take their photo I somehow feel more comfortable sharing it. As such, I am sharing this picture of a woman walking on the road carrying, as so many do in Burundi, her goods on her head. There is no shortage of pure beauty in Burundi.