overview

Overview 

This is a traditional washed coffee from Karuzi, Burundi, produced by about 200 farmers organized as the Ubuto group in association with JNP Coffee. 

The flavor profile is zesty with bright acids and good complexity. We tasted lemongrass, caramel, apple juice, and plum. 

Our roasters found the coffee to color quickly and recommend shorter than average development times for best results. 

When brewed, the coffee proved sweet, crisp, and bright on both pour-over and batch brew, and was easy to dial in. 

taste

Taste Analysis by Chris Kornman 

Most of my sourcing experience in Burundi has centered on two northern provinces bordering Rwanda: Kayanza and Ngozi. Karuzi is position just to the southeast of these regions, and with its similar elevation, rainfall patterns, tree types, and processing practices it’s no surprise that the coffee in many ways echoes the “classic” Burundi coffee profile. 

Of all the Burundi coffee we evaluated this year, this coffee was the brightest. If zesty acidity is something you love in coffee, the young trees and fledgling relationship with Jeanine Niyonzima-Aroian and the group called Ubuto delivers. Our most frequently noted flavors include citrus fruits: lemon, lime, lemongrass, and lemon zest along with grapefruit, lemon tart, and lemonade all make appearances in cuppings and brew notes. 

But don’t expect this coffee to rely solely on that tiny citric slice of the flavor wheel to wow you. Its complexity hits you after that first sip: there’s a good amount of sugar browning in the flavor, from caramel to brown sugar the sweetness is rich, almost molasses-like. We picked up some dried fruit, as well, in the same sensory neighborhood: raisin, dried mango, dates, and prunes. There’s some black or oolong tea-type flavors, a uniquely Burundian flavor note in coffee, and plenty of hints at spice and florality including rose, clove, and chamomile. 

source

Source Analysis by Charlie Habegger 

Jeanine Niyonzima-Aroian, the founder of JNP Coffees, is without a doubt one of the most influential individuals in Burundi coffee today. Raised in Bujumbura, Jeanine would go on to earn an MBA from Northwestern University’s prestigious Kellogg School, cycle through corporate America, and eventually reconnect with her birth country by founding Burundi Friends International, a not-for-profit that funds educational and economic empowerment programs for rural Burundians, which is now in its 13th year. After a few years marketing Burundi coffees stateside for friends and family, Jeanine realized she had every reason to lead the business, and JNP Coffees was born.

JNP Coffee is highly focused on women’s empowerment, and along with a few local women’s rights advocates, formulated the Burundi chapter of the International Women’s Coffee Alliance. The network of IWCA farmer members in Burundi is now more than 2,000, whose coffee is differentiated by membership, marketed for its traceability and impact, and which generates end-of-year premiums for all involved. In fact, the IWCA value chain has been so impactful that JNP has created additional programs to expand their farmer base and generate premiums beyond the IWCA registered growers. 

This is one of those additional programs. A local leader of a producer group in Karuzi Province decided to seek JNP’s partnership. Karuzi is located in central Burundi and is historically lesser known for its coffee compared to neighboring Ngozi and Kayanza provinces, considered to be Burundi’s top-quality producers. The Karuzi group had heard of JNP’s assistance programs and post-harvest premiums and wanted to know how to get involved. Due to exactly this type of demand, JNP has established the “Dushime” program (dushime in Kirundi translates to “let’s be thankful”), which provides quality consulting, lot selection, marketing to JNP’s buyer community, and end-of-year premiums for participating groups not otherwise members of the IWCA. 

This coffee, created from only one distinct processing lot from this harvest, has been titled Ubuto, which translates to “young”. The name is a reflection of the brand-new partnership between JNP and Karuzi Province, as well as the literal age of the coffee trees themselves, which among this group are only a few harvests old, and distinctly youthful in the cup: this microlot is toasty sweet and fruited, like graham crackers and jam, with an acidic clarity and delicate floral layer that indicates many years of bright, assertive coffee ahead. 

Fully washed processing by the Ubuto group is as detailed as anywhere in Burundi where the best coffees are produced. Cherry is floated for density and visible defects prior to depulping and fermentation. After fermentation is complete the wet parchment is sorted by density in concrete washing channels. Drying takes place at first under shade, and then in open air with the parchment piled into pyramids, which are flattened and re-shaped each day as a form of incremental air exposure to slowly and evenly dry the coffee and lock in the final moisture. 

 

green

Green Analysis by Chris Kornman 

This coffee shipped from Burundi just before the end of the 2021 calendar year, a few days before January began. Despite one of the shipping lines cancelling the booking, this is a fairly normal timeframe for Burundi exports, which must surmount the additional challenge of crossing an international border (usually to Tanzania, sometimes Kenya) to reach a port before export. I met Jeanine for dinner in early February for dinner on a surprise visit to Oakland, and among other things we discussed difficulties in logistics. She mentioned the ETA for the coffee was May, and I shook my head. I was sure we’d misread the month. March seemed more likely, more consistent with years past. 

I checked the booking the next morning. Jeanine’s coffee, due to massive disruption in international shipping lines and unprecedented port congestion, had travelled from Dar Es Salaam to Malaysia to Shanghai to Busan, Korea, where it would spend more than a month waiting for passage to Oakland. And there was nothing any of us could do about it. We’d have to trust in good practices at the wet mill and GrainPro to get us through. 

I shot Jeanine a text on June 1, when the coffee hit our warehouse, and again later that week as we first tasted and approved all the coffees in the container. All six lots arrived in miraculously great condition, a testament to the unparalleled importance of green coffee preparation, particularly of good drying practices. To say I’m thrilled to be able to taste, roast, and share this coffee is a massive understatement. I couldn’t be more pleased. 

The coffee’s 11% moisture and below 0.60 water activity reading indicate the coffee had steady, even drying and was well-preserved by both technique and packaging at every step of its journey. The beans are moderate in density and represent a common “15+” screen size grade for the region. 

loring falcon

Loring S15 Falcon Analysis profile by Doris Garrido and Chris Kornman, words by Chris Kornman 

After an initial sample roast cupping, Doris and I joined Josh Wismans, our Tasting Room manager, in a discussion about what coffees we’d like to serve at The Crown. With a couple of options from Burundi in front of us, we chose this Karuzi Ubuto for inclusion on our menu as a light roast batch brew option, in part because we felt like the sample roast offered a lot of classic washed Burundi flavors, including a bright, zesty citric acidity, a juicy viscosity, and a unique oolong-tea note that just doesn’t crop up in coffee flavors very many other places in the world. 

The challenge would be to recreate the sample roast’s brilliance on our production roasters. Our usual method of analysis is to roast a small batch, about a quarter of a CJ box or 5.5 lbs, on our 5kg Diedrich, which we did — but weren’t thrilled with the results. 

It’s been a few weeks since the last time I stood behind the Loring, but with a pressing need to fill orders for our Tasting Room and a little confidence from roasting coffees like this in the past, I took the opportunity to study a few recent roasts and apply a small change or two in order to offer this coffee a shot at excellence in service. 

The most recent light batch on our menu had been a washed Peruvian coffee, and Doris’ Loring roasts had been more than serviceable for this coffee. With this Karuzi’s slightly lower density, I wanted to begin my roast a little slower than Doris had been, but still try to get out of drying phase fairly early, stretch Maillard a bit, and – crucially – spend only a minute or so in first crack. The coffee tends to take on color very quickly and I wanted to make sure our light batch roasting style preserved some of the brighter, zippier acids. 

I charged the drum at 420F, and used an initial 50% burner setting, gradually ramping up as high as 80% once the coffee passed its turning point. At observable color change, I began slowly, incrementally ramping the gas back down. As has been my habit lately, I wanted to reach first crack at around a 15F/minute rate of change, which I did. From here, the strategy was to reach 0F/minute in just about 60 seconds and drop the batch, which I accomplished by cutting the gas from 50% to 25% at the first hint of first crack, and then dropping to minimum burner setting (20%) as I watched the rate of rise closely to avoid any sudden upticks in heat. 

With time working against us, Doris and I cupped the roast the same day, noting good lemony acids, plum and raisin notes, and a decent amount of sugar browning. Despite the short development time, the ground reading on the ColorTrack was 56, a shade or two darker than we had been roasting the Peru to a similar profile. 

The real proof, however, would be after a few days of off-gassing and rest, when the coffee really shone. Brewed in both small batches on pour-overs and in at-scale service on our Curtis batch brewer, the roast absolutely hummed with sweetness and silky smoothness. 

I’d recommend keeping a close eye on your color development on this coffee and likely dropping your roasts a little earlier than usual for best results. 

 

aillio bullet r1

Aillio Bullet R1 IBTS Analysis by Evan Gilman 

Unless otherwise noted, we use both the roast.world site and Artisan software to document our roasts on the Bullet. You can find our roast documentation below, by searching on roast.world, or by clicking on the Artisan links below.  

Generally, we have good results starting our 500g roasts with 428F preheating, P6 power, F2 fan, and d6 drum speed. Take a look at our roast profiles below, as they are constantly changing! 

What a splendid way to start the summer, with fresh coffee from Burundi. This country produces some of East Africa’s tastiest coffee, and it holds an outsized portion of my attention relative to its diminutive geography due to this deliciousness.  

This week, I tried something completely different, and not just in the Monty Python sense. Starting with 500g coffee and 428F preheating like usual, I hit this coffee with abundant heat and low airflow from the outset. P9 and F1 are nearly as extreme as you can get with the Bullet, and added to this I used d4 drum speed for the entire roast, really trying the edge of acceptability for how much conductive heat this coffee would get.  

After peak RoR, I increased fan speed to F3 and reduced heat application to P7, in fact gradually reducing power and increasing airflow over the course of the roast until First Crack. Then, I increased heat back to P6 and fan to F4 to keep the momentum after First Crack’s drastic loss of moisture. Contrary to the other roasts above this week, I spent a good deal of time in Post-Crack development for a ratio of 39% / 43% / 17% in Green/Maillard/PCD. That’s nearly 2 minutes of this 11-minute roast, and an end temperature of 402F.  

The results were quite tasty, in my estimation. Despite the heavy-handed approach to drum speed and conductive heat, I got a cupful of craisin (sweetened dried cranberries), rose hips, and ruby red grapefruit acidity. As it cooled, the bright citrus and quinic acid mellowed into a phenomenally sweet black cherry syrupiness. Think of that cocktail cherry at the end of an Old Fashioned and you’ll be right on track to understanding.  

So, while I wouldn’t necessarily suggest such a low drum speed, the results were not disappointing in the least. If you’re looking for bright zestiness, by all means go for a short and fast roast. If you’ve got a ridiculously oversized sugar tooth like mine, consider slightly longer development times without overshooting a temperature goal on the lower side of the spectrum. Happy chugging!  

https://roast.world/@egilman/roasts/Fp93MovMk8jpZiBCy-ruc 

 

brew

Brew Analysis by Colin Cahill 

We have two new baristas in the tasting room, and for their first brew analysis, Katie and Dion brewed up this spectacular washed coffee from Karuzi Province in Burundi. Chris Kornman has been sharing bits and pieces with us about a handful of exciting lots coming in from Burundi, including this particular lot from the Ubuto producer group, and our curiosity was piqued. We pulled out a dozen different brewers to play with this coffee, and we had some exceptionally delicious brews from a couple of cone brewers and from a flatbed brewer. Dion produced a lovely brew with the Saint Anthony Industries C70 ceramic cone brewer, and Katie got a sweet, complex brew out of the Kalita wave, so I’m sharing more about those brews. 

On the C70, with Saint Anthony Industries’ thicker paper filters, Dion started with 19 grams of coffee ground at an 8.5 on the EK43 on our brew bar and poured a bloom pulse of 50 grams of water (heated to 203F), allowed the coffee to bloom for 40 seconds. Dion poured an additional pulse of 150 grams of water, and then a final pulse of 100 grams of water at 1:40. The brew completed in 4:02, and we poured out small cups to sip on. The brew was sweet, crisp and bright, with consistent notes of lemon and black tea, and some fruity notes with hints of malic acidity, including cranberry and green guava. The aftertaste had the softest hint of rose water. The brew had a total dissolved solids of 1.28, with an extraction percentage of 17.63. Our brews on the Hario V60 cone brewer, with the thinner Hario filters, had very similar brew numbers and perceived flavors. 

On the flatbed, Kalita Wave brewer, Katie started with a slightly heavier dose of 19.5 grams of coffee ground at an 8.5 on the EK43. Katie followed the same brew method, working with the same pulses of water that was also kept at 203F. Katie’s brew on the Wave finished slightly faster, in 3:45, yet had a much higher TDS reading (1.57) and extraction percentage (21.05%). Despite the difference in total dissolved solids between Dion’s brew on the C70 and Katie’s brew on the Wave, the body and flavors of this second brew were so similarly sweet, crisp, and bright. We tasted lemon juice, other citrus notes, black tea, caramel, dried mango, and slightly more floral notes, including a hint of rose. 

We were enjoying the pour over brews of this coffee and decided to serve it as a batch brew offering here in the tasting room. It was a relatively easy coffee for us to dial-in on our Curtis brewer, and we’ve been getting sweet, bright brews with notes of wildflower honey, apples, and citrus. This is a particularly lovely coffee for filtered offerings, but I have a sneaking suspicion it will make a delicious espresso as well. Come on by the tasting room soon to get a taste of this coffee!  

Origin Information

Grower
200 growers organized around the Ubuto producer group
Variety
Local bourbon cultivars
Region
Karuzi Province, Burundi
Harvest
April - August
Altitude
1700 masl
Soil
Volcanic loam
Process
Fully washed and dried on raised beds
Certifications

Background Details

Jeanine Niyonzima-Aroian, the founder of JNP Coffees, is without a doubt one of the most influential individuals in Burundi coffee today. Raised in Bujumbura, Jeanine would go on to earn an MBA from Northwestern University’s prestigious Kellogg School, cycle through corporate America, and eventually reconnect with her birth country by founding Burundi Friends International, a not-for-profit that funds educational and economic empowerment programs for rural Burundians, which is now in its 13th year. After a few years marketing Burundi coffees stateside for friends and family, Jeanine realized she had every reason to lead the business, and JNP Coffees was born. JNP Coffee is highly focused on women’s empowerment, and along with a few local women’s rights advocates, formulated the Burundi chapter of the International Women’s Coffee Alliance. The network of IWCA farmer members in Burundi is now more than 2,000, whose coffee is differentiated by membership, marketed for its traceability and impact, and which generates end-of-year premiums for all involved. In fact, the IWCA value chain has been so impactful that JNP has created additional programs to expand their farmer base and generate premiums beyond the IWCA registered growers. This is one of those additional programs. A local leader of a producer group in Karuzi Province decided to seek JNP’s partnership. Karuzi is located in central Burundi and historically lesser known for its coffee compared to neighboring Ngozi and Kayanza provinces, considered to be Burundi’s top quality producers. The Karuzi group had heard of JNP’s assistance programs and post-harvest premiums and wanted to know how to get involved. Due to exactly this type of demand, JNP has established the “Dushime” program (dushime in Kirundi translates to “let’s be thankful”), which provides quality consulting, lot selection, marketing to JNP’s buyer community, and end-of-year premiums for participating groups not otherwise members of the IWCA. This coffee, created from only one distinct processing lot from this harvest, has been titled Ubuto, which translates to “young”. The name is a reflection of the brand-new partnership between JNP and Karuzi Province, as well as the literal age of the coffee trees themselves, which among this group are only a few harvests old, and distinctly youthful in the cup: this microlot is toasty sweet and fruited, like graham crackers and jam, with an acidic clarity and delicate floral layer that indicates many years of bright, assertive coffee ahead. Fully washed processing by the Ubuto group is as detailed as anywhere in Burundi where the best coffees are produced. Cherry is floated for density and visible defects prior to depulping and fermentation. After fermentation is complete the wet parchment is sorted by density in concrete washing channels. Drying takes place at first under shade, and then in open air with the parchment piled into pyramids, which are flattened and re-shaped each day as a form of incremental air exposure to slowly and evenly dry the coffee and lock in the final moisture.