Updated: Jan 28
Staff Review: Gina Mills - Burundi Mpanga
I got the pleasure of taking home our Burundi - Mpanga, a single origin African coffee to review, over a chilly weekend.
I have four ways of making coffee at home, an Italian Gaggia espresso machine, a cafetiere, a filter coffee machine (with timer – amazing in the morning!) and a lovely new lemon yellow Bialetti mokapot. I chose to just use three – the Gaggia, the filter and my lovely new Bialetti!
Here’s a little bit of background on where our lovely Burundi coffee beans come from: Burundi is a country that continues to face immense social and political difficulties. One of the challenges for the coffee sector is the government’s involvement as an owner and operator of washing stations, which prohibits visibility and transparency. Despite these challenges, there are a few entrepreneurs and privately owned washing stations who are working hard to improve quality. One of these stations is Mpanga. It’s the central washing station located in Kayanza Province, Northern Burundi. It is managed by Jean-Clement Birabereye - a 15-year coffee veteran, who oversaw the construction of the washing station back in 2008.
Mpanga processes roughly 1,500 tonnes of coffee per season, with each producer lot separated and named according to the hillside upon which the coffee was grown. Under Jean-Clement's guidance, Mpanga has achieved incredible results at the Burundi Cup of Excellence, finishing 1st and 3rd in the 2014 competition. As a result of the hard work and diligence Jean-Clement has implemented, Mpanga has become highly regarded for its consistently clean and complex coffees.
Tasting the Coffee
At Bean Smitten HQ we roast our Burundi in small batches of 3 kg and roast it to a light-medium state after the first crack. That way the bean keeps the delicate floral aromatics and flavours of lemons and cranberries. Darren likes to say this is a medium bodied coffee with a short, but caramel like finish…I think I will be the judge of that! ;)
With those tasting notes in mind, I was pleasantly surprised that through my three home coffee makers, I got three completely different coffees!
I can happily confirm that through my filter machine I got a light, fresh, delicate floral coffee with a pleasing light acidity and fruity finish, of indeed light lemons and cranberries. Adding oat milk to it (as I like to do that, sorry!) gave it a creamy taste, making this a really nice cup of light flavourful, floral coffee to have in the morning.
The next day I tried out my new Bialetti mokapot. I enjoyed the novelty of fresh coffee spilling out of the top of the spout and filling up the main body of the pot. The espresso was thick, dark and earthy with a short nutty finish. Unlike the tasting notes we had, but pleasing nonetheless. I had it black, as I really wanted to taste the difference. It was very interesting how it contrasted so much from the fresh floral filtered coffee the day before.
Next, was through the Gaggia espresso machine the following afternoon. I made a flat white with oat milk. Adding milk to this coffee can reveal caramel and fudge like flavours – and they were not wrong! It was delicious! You could even smell a fudgey sweetness with the espresso alone, and adding oat milk again gave it a creamy, chocolatey quality. This was by far my favourite!
So there you have it! A little review of Burundi – Mpanga on three home coffee makers.
Unfortunately this coffee is now sold out.