Currently traveling across the Atlantic Ocean is a ship carrying an order from The Long Miles Coffee Project for both natural and washed beans from the African nation of Burundi. However, these beans are not just simply another Coffee Hound order. These are products of an ongoing effort by Ben Carlson and his family to make a difference by transforming rural communities and bringing hope to the people of one of the poorest nations on the planet.
Plagued by civil war, ethnic conflict, and genocide, Burundi is also a place of much potential and the site of some of the greatest coffee the world has to offer. Beyond the manmade problems from which this country suffers, local farmers have also long experienced difficulty growing, maintaining, and managing their crops properly. One of their largest struggles is combatting the Antestia bug. This bug penetrates the beans, allowing for contamination with bacteria and a characteristic potato flavor. However, when farmed with care and expertly roasted, Burundi’s coffee is undoubtedly a treasure, which is why Ben, an American formerly living in South Africa, sought to bring change to Burundi farming practices as a means to not only uncover a great cup of coffee, but help the local farmers implement better agricultural practices. He also aims to help farmers receive a fair price for their crop, and eventually improve their communities with better access to clean water, electricity, and education.
This process has been far from easy for Ben, his wife, Kristy, and their two sons. As they detail in their blog, the move from their home in South Africa to Burundi was tough, finding a home without real estate agents or internet listings was a challenge, and building and operating two washing stations then getting approval for export was a struggle, although a rewarding one. The fate of their efforts remains as uncertain as Burundi’s, which has once more fallen into a state of civil war, compelling Ben and his family to return to South Africa, although it appears they may return to Burundi soon.
Despite the uncertainty of the future, the coffee we purchased from Ben and his Long Miles Coffee Project, is eagerly being awaited at the Coffee Hound. Steve and Trace can’t wait to roast the Burundi beans and begin serving it in our shops and selling it to our online customers.
In the weeks to come, please stay tuned for updates concerning this excellent coffee, as well as special events related to its launch and ways you can help make a difference.