Orders are shipped every Monday, Thursday and Friday. Blends are roasted on Mondays and Fridays each week whilst single origins are roasted only on Wednesdays at this stage (due to batch size requirements).
We have been roasting coffee from Long Miles since 2014 - when our head roaster Adam visited them in person in the beautiful hills of Burundi. We had heard amazing things about what they were accomplishing in terms of both quality and the prices paid to the growers - it was all true - and then some. They are truly re-inventing both what Burundian coffee can be and what a transparent, premium based and sustainable coffee chain means. From Adam, in regards to one of his career highlights:
"It’d be from my first origin trip, walking down a dirt road into the Long Miles Coffee Project Bukeye washing station in the hills of Kayanza, Burundi. It was the end of a long day and the air was thick with the aromas of cherry pulp, fermentation and coffee flowers. Unforgettable."
About this lot: Gaharo holds a special place in the heart of Long Miles Coffee. This is not just one of the hills in their story, it is the hill where the journey began. The first washing station built by Long Miles rests at the feet of Gaharo hill, on a piece of land that seemed to be long forgotten by everyone else. Every inch of it was cleared by Gaharo farmers and bricks were made from clay found in the valley below. The same farmers who helped to build Bukeye from scratch now deliver their cherries to it. To the Long Miles family, Gaharo farmers have become their neighbors and co-workers. They have grown, worked and developed as a community “twese hamwe”; together. What sets this hill apart from others in the region is the number of blacksmiths hand-crafting metal into knives and farming tools.
About the processing:
Bukeye Washing Station has its own borehole water source and a granite filtered well. During the fully washed process freshly harvested cherries are delivered by coffee farmers to the Long Miles Coffee Washing Station, then floated and hand-sorted for ripeness upon arrival. The cherries are pulped and undergo a single fermentation process. Parchment spends around twelve hours dry fermenting. The parchment is sometimes ‘footed’ after fermentation. A team will agitate and dance on the slippery coffee parchment by foot, helping to loosen any remaining mucilage clinging to it. It is then rinsed in fresh water, graded by density and left to soak for another four to six hours in the final rinse tank. The parchment is carried to covered drying tables where it spends between six and forty-eight hours pre-drying. During this time, it is hand-picked for under-ripeness, over-ripeness, insect damage and visual defects. It is then moved to traditional African raised tables where it spends between sixteen to twenty days slow drying (depending on the weather) until it reaches the desired 10.5% moisture level.
About the Coffee Scouts:
Emery, Suavis and Peter are three Coffee Scouts working alongside coffee farming families on Gaharo hill. Together, they have been empowering farmers with sustainable farming practices, helping them to plant shade trees and green manures, mulch their land and seasonally prune their coffee trees. During coffee harvest, the Coffee Scouts stand side by side with farmers, guiding them through the cherry picking process. They have also taught farmers how to spot and catch antestia bugs,the colorful bugs thought to be linked to the potato taste defect, that can be found in the coffee trees.
"We are a small American family living in Burundi, which is smack dab in the heart of east Africa. We are passionate about producing amazing coffee and caring for the well-being of the coffee farmers who grow it. We weren’t always coffee producers. First, we were a family with a dream.
Our dream was that one day we could facilitate direct and meaningful relationships between coffee roasters and coffee growers by producing great coffee and telling the story of the farmers who grow it. If we could do that, then the local farming community would thrive and the world would gain the gift of great Burundi coffee.
After some time sourcing coffee in Burundi, we realized that the only way we could see our dream come true was to build a washing station. That way, we could control the coffee quality and the price the farmers were given for their coffee. In our first season, with the help of our friends and devoted blog readers, we sold all the coffee before it even hit the drying tables. This overwhelming support allowed us to pay our farmers months before any other washing station in our area, and we quickly became established as a vital part of the community.
Living as a family in this part of Africa isn’t always easy, and sometimes we share the raw and honest truth about what that’s like on our blog. We rattle on about our Faith, raising boys in Africa and the expat life. We also share the stories of our coffee farmers, what it’s like at our washing stations and how we brew our morning coffee. So, if you want the real deal about life, hit that blog button.
If you are a roaster and would like to contact us about building a relationship with our family that works for both you and our farmers, please hit the contact button. If you are a lover of coffee or Africa or travel or adventure and you just want to connect with us, we’d love to hear from you too.
'Murakoze cane' (thank you very much)"
- The Carlson Family (Ben, Kristy, Myles, Neo, and Ariana)
Located in the Great Rift Valley on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, Burundi is a small landlocked nation bordered by Rwanda, Tanzania, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. After being colonized first by the Germans and then by the Belgians, Burundi gained independence in 1962 when it became a monarchy. Violence followed, and then Burundi became a single party state in 1966. A bloody history of ethnic cleansing in the 1970’s and then again in the 1990’s have left Burundi’s economy little time to thrive, making its people some of the poorest in the world. Burundi remains a predominatly agrarian society, with just 13.4% of it’s population dwelling in cities.
Coffee and tea are Burundi’s top exports, accounting for 90% of its foreign trade. Approximately 80% of Burundians live below the poverty line. In 2018’s World Happiness Report, Burundians were rated as the least happy population on earth. Burundi coffee is the Cinderella of the coffee world; often subject to deep misfortunes despite deserving better. Coffee came to Burundi under colonial rule through the Belgains after WWI in the 1920’s. The Belgians began to force every farmer to cultivate at least fifty coffee trees in 1933. Many of the trees farmed in Burundi today are original to the this era of forced farming. After colonial rule ended in 1962, coffee production was privatized, but rarely was anything besisdes commodity coffee produced. Since then, the sector went back under governemnt control only to re-emerge into the private sector in 1991. For the last sixty years Burundi’s rich and unique coffees have often been lost in a sea of instant and grocery store blends. But now, grown and crafted with care, Burundi coffee is emerging to find its place in the specialty limelight.
From far off, the Burundian countryside is a vast expanse of green carpeted rolling hills. Each hill is a distinct geopolitical unit with its own farming tapestry; a patchwork of banana trees, cassava coffee, tea and corn. There are no typical looking coffee estates in Burundi, instead every hill is home to between sixty and 140 smallholding coffee farming families. For most coffee farmers in Burundi, coffee is their family’s only cash crop. The average farmer who works with us has 115 coffee trees. Each coffee producing hill in Burundi has an individual micro-climate, soil structure and altitude. LMCP trace micro-lots by tracking every farming family on every hill, and documenting each day that they deliver. Every farmer has a story- and they do their best to capture not only data about coffee production, but family and home life as well.
Producing coffee in this part of Africa isn’t always easy. Harvest season often means navigating challenges like countrywide fuel shortages, water shortages, political insabilities, constantly changing government regulations or export delays. Despite all of these challenges, we’ve found Burundi coffees to be well worth the effort, and we are hopeful that you will too.
Curiously the volcano that this blend is named after is not really a volcano. Looking at it you could be fooled though, and this is how the area, surrounding the mountain that appears to be a volcano, was named "El Volean". This is a special coffee growing region beca use of the high altitude, the mild climate and shade found covering the coffee tree on the farms. Here the vegetation is green and plentiful, a healthy ecosystem where the coffee trees flourish. Farmers here take advantage of the special environment by not just growing amazing coffees but also by planting vegeta ble gardens to sustain themselves and their families, with fresh produce.
Farmers mainly grow traditional varieties here and they process their coffees to highest possible standard. Picked coffee cherries are de-pulped immediately and then left to ferment for between 24-36 hours depending on the altitude and specific climatic conditions of the farm.
This micro-lot was produced by Juan Carlos Diaz and his father Carlos Julio Diaz on their 12-hectare farm, El Naranjal (meaning “the orange” in Spanish) located near the small community of Laureles, in the municipality of Ibagué, in Colombia’s Tolima state.
El Naranjal is situated in the high hills to the South West of Tolima’s capital city, Ibagué. There are no roads that access the farm, so visitors must climb a steep and slippery path from 1750 meters to 1900 meters above sea level, across rugged terrain. The double story farmhouse sits on the peak of a hill, surrounded by high mountains and coffee trees. The highest points of the farm are over 2000 meters above sea level and can only be reached on foot or by mule.
Carlos Julio purchased El Naranjal in 1994 and today co-manages the farm with Juan Carlos. The farm is 12 hectares large, 8 hectares of which are planted with coffee trees of the Caturra, Colombia and Castillo varieties. The family also farms plantain, beans and oranges (for which the farm is named). Juan Carlos and his wife, Eliana, live at his parent’s farmhouse with their two children, Juan Julio (8yrs) and Renata (2yrs) and are saving to eventually purchase their own property.
Historically the area around the small town of Laureles has been known for cattle, sugarcane and vegetables. Coffee is a relatively new crop for the region, having only been planted in the last 30-40 years. Most coffee farmers purchased land in the area because it was more affordable than traditional coffee farming areas like Planadas and Chaparral, in Tolima’s south. Higher elevation areas were considered less prosperous than lower areas because they typically achieve lower yields. However, this region has since gained acclaim for the high cup quality, sweetness and complexity of the coffees produced here.
Most farms in the region are planted with the Caturra variety, which was the most popular variety during the 1970s and 1980s when the farms were established. Coffee in Laureles is farmed with traditional techniques. Fertilisation occurs around three times a year, usually after manual weeding, and pesticides are rarely used. The coffee is selectively hand-harvested, with most labour being provided by the farmers and their families.
Coffee from Tolima has historically been very difficult to access due to the region’s isolation and instability. For many years this part of Colombia was under the control of Colombia’s notorious rebel group, the FARC, and as a result, it was unsafe and violent. Since 2012, safe access to this region has been possible as a result of peace talks between the Colombian government and the rebels. Since this time some stunning coffees from small producers have become accessible to the international market.
The word ‘Tolima’ comes from the local indigenous language and means a “river of snow or cloud”. The region sits on the Cordillera Central, in the middle of the three mountain ranges that provide a range of microclimates well-suited to high-quality coffee production. Coffee is the leading agricultural activity in the region, followed by beans and cattle.
The most well-known regions in Tolima for specialty coffee are Planadas and Chaparral in the south. This coffee comes from the areas surrounding Ibagué, which is further north in the state. The city is also known as the “Ciudad del Abanico” or the “city of the folding fan” because when you look at it from the sky the rivers running from the mountains split up the crops of rice and cotton, and it looks like a beautiful handmade folding fan.
How This Coffee Was Sourced
The coffee is sourced by MCM's export partners, Pergamino, who purchase coffee from about 40 independent coffee growers in the region of Ibagué. This is the second year that Juan Carlos and Carlos Julio have sold coffee to Pergamino. During a visit to his farm, Carlos Julio recounted the story of the first time they sold a coffee lot to them when the coffee only achieved a cup score of 80 from the QC team. Following the advice of Pergamino’s co-founder and agronomist, Léonardo Henao Triana, Carlos Julio began fermenting his coffee to remove the sticky fruit of the coffee cherry from the seed, rather than using a mechanical demucilager. The result was a significantly higher cup score, which could be sold with a higher premium. With Pergamino’s assistance, Juan Carlos and Carlo Julio’s goal is to have a consistent cup score of 86 or higher, which will secure the best premiums. They intend to add a second fermentation tank to his ‘micro-beneficio’ (mill) so that he has the space to ferment all of his coffee, even during peak harvest.
During harvest, the Diaz family deliver small lots (around 100-150kg) of dried parchment to Pergamino’s Ibagué warehouse every 1-2 weeks. Mules are used to transport the coffee down from the highest parts of El Naranjal to Laureles, where it is transferred into small trucks to complete the journey to Ibagué. Only recently a bridge was built over the river that runs through Laureles, Rio Luisa – previously mules had to carry to coffee through the river and many drowned as a result. The new bridge is an incredible point of progress for the small community.
The warehouse in Ibagué is operated and overseen by manager Gonzales, who has a long history of working with Pergamino – in fact, he was Léo’s first boss in coffee! Upon delivery, a sample of the dried parchment is milled and assessed for physical attributes, including uniformity of size, presence of defects, moisture content and seed to hull ratio. If the coffee passes the physical assessment it is accepted and the farmer receives their first payment for the coffee, calculated by the weight delivered and a base rate related to the physical quality of the parchment.
The coffee is then cupped and assessed for sensory attributes. After being accepted by the team in Ibagué the coffees are transported to Pergamino’s QC lab in Medellin, Antioquia, where they are further assessed by an expert team of cuppers. Each lot is carefully evaluated and, based on the cup score and profile, the coffee is sorted into different grades of quality and combined into exportable sized lots. Feedback on each lot is relayed back to the producer and after it has sold a second payment is made to the producer according to premium the coffee attracted.
Each season the team at Pergamino cups through hundreds of small lots from independent farmers, looking for coffees that exhibit excellent cup characteristics and showcase the region where they were produced. This year, Carlos Julio’s and Juan Carlos’ coffee was selected to be processed separately as a micro-lot for its distinct character and high cup quality.
Pergamino has done a lot to help promote commercialisation of specialty coffee throughout Tolima and have actively been working to source and support coffee producers in regions where there is a high potential for quality, but historically have not had access to specialty buyers. Read more about their work here.
How This Coffee Was Processed
This lot was selectively hand-harvested, with most labour being provided by the family. During peak harvest, the family hires about 10 local labourers to help harvest the coffee cherry, who are paid on a daily rate. Juan Carlos and Carlos Julio prefer to work with the same pickers every year as they have taught them how to select only the ripest cherry for processing. To ensure pickers come and work for them they pay a 15%-20% premium on the local daily rate and provides workers with three meals a day.
The coffee was fermented for 24hrs in the cherry, before being processed using the washed method at El Naranjal’s ‘micro-benficio’ (wet mill). The coffee was floated in the mill’s plastic hopper and then pulped using a small electric pulper. The coffee is then fermented for a further 36hrs in bags, before being finished in the tank for another 12hrs. This is a space saving method, which will change once new tanks are added to the mill.
The coffee was carefully dried on raised beds over 20-30 days. Following fermentation, the coffee was washed using clean water from the Rio Luisa. It was then carefully dried (over 20-30 days) on parabolic beds, which are constructed a bit like a ‘hoop house’ greenhouse, and act to protect the coffee from the rain and prevent condensation dripping back onto the drying beans. The greenhouse is constructed out of plastic sheets and have adjustable walls to help with airflow, and temperature control to ensure the coffee can dry slowly and evenly.
Once dry, the coffee was delivered to Pergamino’s warehouse, where it was cupped and graded, and then rested in parchment until it was ready for export.
Read more about MCM's Colombian export partner Pergamino here.
6 Month Subscription (Gift/Pre-paid)
6 Month Subscription (Gift/Pre-paid).
Ethically traded, freshly roasted coffee delivered to your (or a friend's!) door every month? Couldn't be easier! Simply select if you'd like single origins or the seasonal blend and then the grind (if needed).
If you choose Single Origin and we'll keep you (or the lucky friend) supplied with a rotating selection of our unique and delicious single origins (good for filter coffee drinkers). Or choose Seasonal Blend for a regular supply of our steadfast and crowd-pleasing blend (good for espresso drinkers).
Don't forget to also let us know if you need the coffee ground.
This is for one 250g bag delivered every month for 6 months (with no additional shipping costs).
Roaster's Choice Subscription
Our roaster's choice coffee subscription.
Ethically traded, freshly roasted coffee delivered to your door every month? Couldn't be easier! Chose any combination of quantity, size, grind and frequency and we'll keep you supplied with a rotating selection of our unique and delicious single origins.
For filter coffee drinkers we recommend this - the Roaster's Choice Subscription and for the espresso drinkers out there we suggest the Seasonal Blend subscription.
Shipping is charged as per usual - that is receive FREE shipping on any subscriptions of more than 250g per delivery.
This lot is a blend of coffee from small producers in Pitalito, Huila that was decaffeinated in Colombia (the same country as that which the coffee was grown) using ethylacetate - a by product derived from fermented sugar cane - which was also grown in Colombia! Ethylacetate is an ester that occurs naturally in fruits and vegetables such as bananas, apples and - coffee. The result is an incredibly fresh, clean and sweet, naturally decaffeinated coffee.
Toasted almonds, black cherry and dark chocolate.
The roast degree for our seasonal blend is a little more developed (darker) than our individual single origins - making it easier to use for espresso brewing and imparting it with less acidity. Also the right choice for those who enjoy more 'traditional' flavour profiles.
For our seasonal blend we combine ethically traded and in-season single origin coffees to create something both delicious and dependable. For more information on the individual blend components click on the links above!
The coffee beans in this blend began as the seeds of coffee cherries - the seasonal fruit of a tropical forest shrub, grown predominantly in East Africa, Central and South America and Southeast Asia. before being roasted by us, those raw seeds had to be nurtured, carefully hand picked when ripe, fermented, dried and exported. It is a long supply chain fraught with difficulties - that sip of coffee you're enjoying began a long way away and is the result of the hard work of many people.
Yahaha! You found me!
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