Rich baking spices, brown sugar, raisin, and delicate florals on the nose lead into a cup that is defined by its super clean black tea base, molasses sweetness, and a refreshing citrus quality reminiscent of orange. Look for the pleasing emergence of ripe stone fruit flavors as the coffee cools.
Up to 370 farming families contributed to this lot produced by the Long Miles Coffee Project. Grown on Nkonge Hill, this coffee was processed at the Long Miles-built Heza washing station. Coffees from Long Miles have been a staple on Passenger’s menu since 2015 and this 2021 harvest is the latest selection to be presented as our Foundational Heza Offering.
Heza (pronounced HEY-za) washing station is built into the face of a cliff, overlooking the Kibira rainforest; the border between Rwanda and Burundi. It was constructed in January of 2014 and was the second washing station built as part of the Long Miles Coffee Project, a family endeavor started by Kristy and Ben Carlson. Long Miles has been built around the concept that coffee can be not only a catalyst for change but also the full realization of change itself, that coffee has the ability to change a landscape and to transform individuals and communities, that by connecting small hills of farming communities in rural Burundi directly with roasters in consuming countries and by highlighting traceability, unique micro-climates, processing techniques, and the power of the human spirit, that a more equitable supply chain can and will emerge. For the past six years, Passenger has purchased the lion’s share of our Burundi coffees from the Long Miles Coffee Project. We are continuously inspired by the spirit of this endeavor and the quality and qualities of the coffees the Long Miles team produces.
This lot was grown on Nkonge Hill. The Communes of Burundi are broken up into Collines, which is French (one of the two official languages of Burundi) for “Hill.” Each of the five hills (Nkonge, Mutana, Mikuba, Gitwe, and Gishubi) that surround Heza washing station is a distinct geopolitical unit, and each microlot processed at Heza is named for the hill where it was harvested. During harvest, deliveries of coffee cherries are processed at Heza each day and kept separated by the Hill from which they were delivered. Passenger’s annual Foundational Lot selection is always processed at Heza, but we have presented lots representing different Hills in different years.
Over time, the Long Miles team has identified distinct cup qualities associated with each Hill. These distinctions are most likely a result of differences in microclimate and elevation. Our 2021 harvest selection from Nkonge Hill was pulped in a McKinnon disc pulper and fermented underwater for approximately 30 hours. After fermentation, the remaining mucilage and pectin were washed off and the coffee was moved to raised drying tables where it was dried for approximately 20 days.