Highland Coffee from the Nile-Congo Divide

Honey Process Burundi

The story of this coffee is not clever or deeply historic, but it’s riveting.

Kayenza Province is situated in northeast Burundi, near the southern border with Rwanda, and contains the source waters of the Nile River. The 1893-meter altitude, volcanic soil, and relative availability of water produce an exotic high-altitude coffee you’ll long remember.


Coffee was introduced to the area in the 1930s by Catholic monks from Réunion Island. It is grown exclusively by smallholders organized into farmers’ associations, or Sogestals. The local Sogestals help with financing, fertilizer, transportation, healthcare, community education, youth employment, economic development, water treatment facilities, solar panels, power, and up-to-date farming practices. Production fluctuates with regional rainfall.

Our Burundi Kibingo Honey coffee comes from a small trade cooperative. Nearly 3,000 local farmers grow coffee on 18 hills at elevations of 1700 – 1900 meters above sea level. It’s processed in the Kibingo station, named for the reeds (“urubingo” means “reeds”) planted along the river to fight soil erosion. This small, sparsely populated area produces nearly 700 tons of coffee a year.

Honey Process

No actual honey is used, though the result is a sticky coffee bean. The stickiness and unique flavor is the result of not washing the coffee cherries after they’re sorted, hulled, and de-pulped. Instead, the beans are dried with the sweet, sticky outer layer of the fruit still in place. Less water on the beans means that they undergo less fermentation, leaving more to the natural sugar in the bean and producing less post-fermentation acid.

In water-starved East Africa, the less used, the less must be found and sanitized for consumption and food processing. So honey process coffee is advantageous for the area in which it’s grown and processed as well as in the lovely low-acid beans the process provides.

Burundi Kibingo Honey accepts city through espresso roasting levels. Grind these beans and enjoy them as espresso, drip, or pour-over coffee.

Please let us know what you think of these unusual coffee beans.