Introducing The Flavors & Regions of Burundi Coffee


Burundi, the Heart of Africa. It’s called this for its heart-shaped outline and its central location on the African continent. And as its 600,000–800,000 coffee-growing families (The World Bank, 2011) could tell you, coffee is in many ways the heart of Burundi.

Large parts of Burundi have excellent conditions for growing coffee: good terroir, a favorable climate, and more. In fact, specialty coffee production is on the increase in this tiny country, despite armed conflict and high poverty rates. Burundian single origins have demonstrated high potential, and coffee producers here are striving to improve their agricultural practices.

East Africa is known for its high-quality coffee – and Burundi is no exception.

But what does coffee from Burundi taste like? What are the different producing regions? And what do roasters, importers, and coffee shop owners think of the region? Keep reading to find out.


Burundi’s volcanic soil and approximate 1,200 mm of rainfall a year (The World Bank) create a great environment for growing coffee. Volcanic soil is rich in nutrients such as nitrogen, which coffee plants need, and tends to hold water well.

Ephrem Sebatigita, a Q grader with more than 30 years in the coffee industry, tells me that there are two “parameters” that characterize Burundian coffee. First of all, there’s “the different varieties, like Bourbon and its different sub varieties (Jackson and Blue mountain).” The Bourbon variety is known for its great sweetness and body.

Then there are the different regions. “Indeed,” Ephrem says, “there are different areas that are good for the coffee trees and crops. The Buyenzi area, mainly, [and]the north, north east, and the center are better…”

These are the most well-known coffee-growing regions in Burundi. However, you’ll also find good coffee in lesser amounts in some southern regions of Burundi, such as Buragane.

What’s more, you have Burundi’s processing methods. Coffee in Burundi – like other East African countries – is often double washed/double fermented. This is a unique processing method that results in very clean, bright flavor profiles.

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