Drinking Nkonge coffee is like taking a long car ride on a beautiful day down a stunning coastline. Dark berries and ripe red currant flavors fill the cup. It has the caramelized sweetness of light brown sugar balanced with the tart acidity of passion fruit. Upon finish, it has a touch of citric sorbet and a creamy lingering mouthfeel reminiscent of chocolate truffle. We like to drink Nkonge as a pour over.
Life has a different pace on Nkonge hill. There is a stillness on the hill that is hard to find anywhere else in Burundi. You can walk for stretches on this green carpeted hill without seeing anyone. Dirt roads cut into the hill’s steep slopes, revealing panoramic views of banana trees and lush tea plantations. The high elevation of Nkonge fosters a harder, slower growing coffee bean. Natural springs find their way out of the hill, making sure its soils are always well
watered. Patches of onions, tea, wheat, cabbage, maize, cassava and peas can be found growing alongside coffee in the hill’s rich soils.
Sadly, life hasn’t always been peaceful on Nkonge hill. The most recent civil war in Burundi brought great losses. Many farming families that fled returned to the hill only to find that their land had been divided or taken over by someone else.
THE SCOUTS: With the help of coffee scouts Minani and Thierry, farmers are slowly rejuvenating their farms. The scouts are contributing greatly to farmers’ knowledge on growing and taking care of their coffee. The scouts are also working hard to motivate young people to take an interest in coffee. It is their vision to form a youth association and source land for them to start their own farms.
The Long Miles farm can also be found on Nkonge hill. Our very own Heza washing station manager Jeremie has planted a couple of thousand new coffee trees here. Our 2018 season will be the first time we harvest and taste our very own home-grown coffee.
FUTURE: In the future, people dream of having electricity. With it, they could mill cassava, wheat and maize grown on the hill into flour to make the food they love to eat most- bread.