Despite being geographically minuscule, Burundi commands an outsized presence in specialty coffee sourcing. Its hills provide exceptional climate and elevation for growing, and its most conscientious producers are cultivating, processing, and exporting coffee that rivals the best and brightest from anywhere in the world. The crop is the country’s single most important export by both volume and value. 

Royal Coffee work almost exclusively with two small independent companies to source our Burundi coffees – the Long Miles Coffee Project (LMCP) and JNP Coffees – both groups casting sourcing nets that number in thousands of smallholders scattered across both familiar and uncommon soils in search of excellent coffees and providing upgraded processing services, educational opportunities, high degrees of financial transparency, and well-above average prices. 

Access to extraordinary qualities of coffee in Burundi is a labor of love, and make no mistake it is genuinely difficult labor. The landlocked country has no port and limited infrastructure, making logistics complicated. Its 600,000+ coffee-growing citizens – almost exclusively smallholder farmers whose trees number in the low hundreds – live predominately rural and agrarian lifestyles, with scarce access to basic resources, farm improvement techniques, and even education. And even when everything goes right in-country, international logistics can thwart the best-planned sourcing strategies, as we saw with last year’s June arrivals of December shipments. 

We’re fortunate this year to already have the majority of our coffees from this country landed, and are thrilled to share these incredible coffees, some of the best from Burundi and, indeed, the world, with you. If you’re looking for someplace to start, here’s a quick list and breakdown of our current menu, sorted by style and availability: 

The Classics: 

Burundi coffees from Kayanza and Ngozi are likely the most familiar provinces to most specialty coffee buyers, both situated at the north center of the country, sharing a border with southern Rwanda. These coffees are citrusy, almost grapefruit like in some cases, more mandarin orange in others, and have a deep chocolatey and blackberry like structure with a signature tea-like finish. 

Burundi Long Miles Top Peaberry – 30676 – GrainPro Bags – Intend Ship: Feb 25, 2023 – RCWHSE (LMCP) 

Burundi Ngozi Turihamwe Mparamirundi – Lots 3004430045 – SPOT RCWHSE, Lot 30436 – ETA: Apr 23, 2023 (JNP) 

  • An “if you know, you know” coffee, many of us who have worked with Jeanine Niyonzima-Aroina and JNP for a few years now will recognize the “Turihamwe” designation, her signature International Women’s Coffee Alliance (IWCA) project. This group, using their earnings to organize independently, is representative of the mission and quality-focused sourcing at the core of JNP Coffees. If you’re looking for a place to start with great tasting, ethically sourced coffee under incredible leadership, look no further than the three Turihamwe coffees we sourced this year. 

Other Ngozi lots 


The Naturals: 

For a country known to the world as an exclusive supplier of specialty washed coffees until very recently, the quality of Burundi’s dry processed coffees might be the most exciting and surprising to many of us. With a wide range of flavors, the most recent harvest offers our most diverse and thrilling set of natural coffees from Burundi yet, available exclusively as microlots. 

Uncommon Terroir: 

Coffees grown anywhere beyond Kayanza and Ngozi often play second fiddle to the more recognizable denominations of origin, but the sources and flavors here are just as striking and unequivocally “Burundi-like” as anywhere in the country. Check out our offerings from Karuzi in the northeast, Muramvya just outside of the capital city Bujumbura, and Gitega in the exact center of the nation. 

Experimentally Processed Lots: 

It wouldn’t be 2023 without a few processing curveballs! Jokes aside, these anaerobic “honeys,” processed using a twist on classic fermentation style, turn up the volume a bit on extant flavors and create unique coffees from familiar places. This is the third season of anaerobically processed coffees from Long Miles. 

Questions about coffees from Burundi or need some beans? Email us.