In early June this year, our Director of Coffee Jacob, and I made the long journey to the East African country of Burundi to visit the folk at Long Miles Coffee. We’ve been buying from Long Miles for the past three years and have been increasingly impressed with not only the quality of coffee coming out of this project (how delicious was that Nkonge natural?!) but also the greater mission and practices the team are realising on the ground.
With our own personal passion to find opportunities to positively impact people through specialty coffee, we were increasingly finding more synergy between the efforts of Long Miles and ourselves – time to get our feet on the ground and find out more.
Jacob and I spent an incredible week in Burundi with Ben, Lauren and the Long Miles family. It was my first time to Africa and the visit was just as powerful and inspiring as I’d heard. We spent time in the cupping lab in the capital of Bujumbura along with a solid stretch up in the mountainous, coffee growing back country. The Heza washing station, where both our Gitwe and Nkonge Hill coffees emerge from, is where we spent the majority of our time.
The organisation, attention to detail and positive relationships we saw at Heza were genuinely impressive and makes me super excited for what we’re likely to see coming out of this mill in the future.
While travelling throughout Burundi, I had a chance to interview both Ben Carlson, Director, and Lauren Rosenberg, General Manager, about why Long Miles was established and some of their hopes for the future. It was pretty inspiring and, with a new level of understanding about the issues and opportunities to have positive impact within the community, we’re excited to be increasing our involvement with Long Miles with both increased purchasing and support some of their development projects.
Upon our return the super talented Rich Austin: Coffee Quality Control Manager + video extraordinaire created this beautiful Long Miles Project mini documentary of some of these conversations and the beautiful Burundi landscape. Enjoy!