This is a traditional double-washed coffee from Ngozi, Burundi, produced by smallholder farmers of the Bahire group organized around JNP Coffee.
The flavor profile has a wide range, but our most frequently noted flavors included floral, orange, sweet cashew, apricot, and black tea.
Our roasters found the coffee’s low density benefited from a little extra time in drying phase, and noted that the beans take color quickly after first crack.
When brewed, this coffee played well on multiple pour-over devices as well as on the hybrid infusion-immersion Clever brewer.
Taste Analysis by Chris Kornman
When I first approved this sample, way back in late September of 2021, my notes included “apricot, floral, pear, silky, clean,” and “a real gem.” With a-near-everlasting logistics nightmare between the approval and arrival, trading team member Spencer Ford echoed a number of my early tasting notes on the first tasting after the coffee landed in Oakland’s port on June 2. He noted “cocoa, floral, lime, bergamot,” and “clean.” So reassuring to have a coffee land so late in such great condition.
I’d flagged the coffee as Jewel potential based on that first preshipment cupping, and the team here at The Crown always samples and cups the coffee ourselves for a final decision before the production roasting phase. Our sample roast showed a little savory-ness alongside widely-agreed upon floral notes and a distinct sugar-browning sweetness. Evan shot me a message a little later, after his Bullet roast was tasted, simply stating “new best friend.”
It’s interesting to note that even though at least one person at each tasting has noted one type of floral flavor or another, there’ve been a shortage of specific callouts like we often see with the jasmine-y Geshas or lavender-like Gujis. I think this is because, while present in this coffee, the florals are typically playing a supporting role to flavors like soft orange, sweet cashew butter, apricot, and a range of other gentle notes that offer some more insight to the coffee’s subtle complexity.
In that way the coffee really shines as a unique example of an unconventionally intricate and delicate Ngozi coffee, one that offers a new range of flavors for those seeking an enjoyable and out-of-the-ordinary option from Burundi.
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 the capital city of 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 funding 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 Coffee 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 IWCA value chain has been so impactful over the years that JNP has created additional programs to expand their farmer base and generate premiums not just for women farmers, but for everyone involved. Producer groups of women and men alike, such as this one, can qualify for JNP’s new “DushimeTM” program, which delivers the same kind of post-harvest premiums as IWCA has since 2013. It seems they can’t expand fast enough. In Kayanza and Ngozi, the two provinces at the heart of the nation’s coffee production, competition for cherry can be fierce, so washing stations may pay well above the country’s minimum price to court premium harvests. JNP coffee goes a step further, returning second payments to farmers and investing in opportunities for education and community building.
Coffee grown in Ngozi Province has a special meaning for Jeanine, as that is where her mother grew up. Memories of her mother, leading the family’s coffee harvest to cover school fees, are woven into the name for this coffee. Bahire in Kirundi is a kind of well-wishing given to others that roughly translates to “be well, successful, prosperous, happy”. Bahire is a micro-community of smallholders selected from within one of JNP’s larger communities, Bavyeyi, thanks to their unique terroir. The producer group works closely with JNP Coffee’s trained Q Graders in Burundi on best quality practices and lot curation.
Fully washed processing for members of the Bahire 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 under-water 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. The resulting profile is exceedingly clean, bright and delicate.
Green Analysis by Chris Kornman
Another survivor of an arduous ocean voyage besmirched by unnecessarily complicated logistics due to ongoing supply chain disruption. The coffee 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.
On-point flavors upon initial sampling, along with really excellent moisture figures saved us all. The coffee is in great shape, a testament to the unparalleled importance of green coffee preparation, particularly of good drying practices. Uniquely, the coffee is relatively low density for Burundi specialty coffee, which usually trends on the high side. It may need a slightly delicate touch in roasting.
Local cultivars are largely traditional and legacy plants handed down generationally since the 1930s and 40s. Widely assumed to be predominately French Mission (Bourbon) variants, World Coffee Research has uncovered deeper histories into the two most common local iterations grown in Burundi and nearby Rwanda. Jackson (a Bourbon type plant) is the surname of coffee farmer in India who identified the tree as rust-resistant; seedlings were then sent to other British occupied coffee growing regions in Kenya and Tanzania. Mbrizi (a Typica type) is thought to have been introduced from Guatemala to Rwanda. Neither tree is considered disease resistant, but both tend to produce excellent cup quality despite relatively low yields.
Diedrich IR-5 Analysis by Chris Kornman
Tasting Room Manager and self-avowed fan of slightly savory coffees Josh Wismans convinced the team this week to keep the Ngozi on our analysis schedule. Our initial sample roast showed off some conflicting flavor notes, but Josh really loved it and we decided to move forward with analysis.
I’m really glad we did, and I think after looking at the green and taking the coffee through a roast myself I understand why the sample roast seemed a little… complicated.
I ran a quick density and moisture reading on the Sinar before roasting, and was surprised at the low density reading. I figured maybe it was an error so I re-measured manually in the graduated cylinder, and indeed the coffee, contrary to regional norms, is surprisingly soft.
I’d been planning to roast this like a Kenya with a lot of heat, and I immediately adjusted my strategy based on the green reading to a lower charge temperature and a gradual ramp up in burner settings. I still wanted to run a fairly quick exit strategy from the drying phase, and with that in mind I did end up with an aggressive burner profile quickly as the turning point approached.
As anticipated, the coffee took the heat fairly quickly and reached color change at 4:30, not too bad for the combination of moderate charge temperature and brief soak. By five minutes into the roast I was coasting at idle burner setting and fully open airflow (though I did briefly revert to 50/50 just prior to first crack to avoid too much heat loss).
The coffee reached first crack a little earlier than expected, just a few degrees, and the low rate of rise after first crack kept the overall temperature quite low including final drop temp. Unconsciously, or maybe subconsciously, this had the effect of muting some of the inherently savory flavors and accenting a few of the more subtle floral, sweet herbal, and cola-like notes.
Interestingly, the low temperatures of the end roast still resulted in a relatively dark color score, which has been on-trend for basically all of our washed Burundi coffees this year, so keep a light touch on the flame as you sail into and past first crack, the reward will be a sweet and delicate, nuanced coffee without pretense.
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!
Another two excellent coffees from Burundi grace our analyses this week, and this one is unabashedly my favorite. Some coffees just shout out to me, and this is one of them.
I did hit this coffee with a good deal of heat right off the bat, despite its lower density numbers. Starting with P8 power and the lowest airflow setting, F1, I wanted to move through Green/Drying stage quickly and focus on developing the sugars in Maillard stage. This didn’t work out exactly as anticipated, but we’ll get to that in a bit.
At Turning Point, I increased fan speed to F2, and just before yellowing at 300F I reduced power to P7. This coffee actually took on color a little slower than I thought it would, and I did not mark yellowing until 5:10 / 333F. Because of this, I spent more time proportionally in Green/Drying than in Maillard, but that turned out not to be a problem. As the roast progressed, I increased fan speed and decreased power gradually, finally arriving at P6/F5 at First Crack. Learning from last week’s Burundi coffees, I decided to let this coffee develop longer, and arrive at a slightly higher end temperature of 404F.
The results here were phenomenal. I’m halfway convinced it would not matter what I did during the roast, this coffee just shines. Honeysuckle florals came through straight off, with fresh tobacco and tealike aromatics, and cranberry and plum acidity. As the coffee cooled, fudgy cocoa notes came out, backed by sweet cherry and a sparkling clean jasmine finish. I kid you not, reader, I drank an entire 4-cup Chemex of this coffee just because I wanted to keep tasting it.
While I could see this coffee performing well as a full immersion or espresso preparation, I couldn’t recommend filter drip enough. This is a coffee that can be showcased and clean, sparkling, and elegant. An instant favorite.
Brew Analysis by MJ Smith
When our Tasting Room Director Josh gave me the option to write the brew analysis for either this coffee or the new Burundi Natural, my first instinct was to choose the natural… until Josh mentioned that this Burundi Ngozi had some fun savory notes, and I just had to have it. Josh and I both share an appreciation for the special savoriness that some East African coffees have, so I’m thankful he let me take this one. I made 4 different brews of this delicious double washed coffee (two on the F70 from Saint Anthony, one on the Bee House, one on the Clever Dripper) and each gave me some super tasty warm and cozy notes that I could sip on all day, any season.
My stand-out favorite came to me from the Bee House. My first two brews (on the F70) were both at slightly higher doses, and they were pretty good, but I wanted to see what bringing the dose down to 19g would be like and boy oh boy was I delighted! With a brew ratio of 15.79 and a TDS of 1.40, we landed with a near smack-dab-in-the-middle extraction percentage of 20.16%. Initially, I noticed flavors of cashew, caramel corn, apricot, and orange zest, with a subtle but delicious chocolate malt aftertaste. Not going to lie, I selfishly didn’t want to share this brew with the rest of the barista team because I would have enjoyed it to the last drop if I could have, but alas, for science, we must all have a try. Some of the notes they picked up included persimmon, clove, and blood orange.
My other favorite brew came from the cutest little pink Clever Dripper that I found stashed in the back of our brew device shelf this morning. It had been awhile since I used one, but I noticed in Evan’s Bullet roast analysis that he mentioned it would work well as a full-immersion method and also recommended it brewed with a filter, so I thought the Clever would be perfect. It was! I used a dose of 19g coffee and 300g water, skipped the pre-infusion bloom and just went straight for the total brew volume, where I then let it steep for 3 minutes before dropping it, landing with a final brew time of 4:20. Right off the bat, it reminded me of honey graham crackers with spiced pumpkin butter spread on top, with a slight baked granny smith apple and citrusy sweetness. Josh also picked up on the apple notes, as well as some lemon, pomelo, almond, and raisin.
Again, I just want to reiterate that this is a darn good, wonderfully versatile coffee, that I assume would be delicious no matter how you brew it. Huge thanks to Jeanine at JNP Coffee for bringing this taste of her mother’s homeland to Oakland where now we can all savor and love it. In the name of Bahire, “be well, successful, prosperous, happy” with this delectable, flavorsome coffee!