Brian Beyke

Deeper Roots Coffee - Burundi Kinyovu

Brian Beyke


While visiting Louisville, Kentucky for Mother’s Day my wife and I stopped by Quill’s Coffee.  It was there she fell in love with Blueberry Rooibos Rishi tea.  I looked at several markets back home in Cincinnati but wasn’t able to find some more for her.  Conveniently, Deeper Roots Coffee sold Rishi teas and simultaneously teased on Twitter that they were dialing in some delicious nitro cold coffee.  So, I decided to head over to the roastery, chat a bit with Adam Shaw (head roaster) while he did some sample roasting, drink some nitro cold coffee (which you may see me post pictures of most weekends from Cheapside Cafe), and buy some of this tea.  Before leaving, Adam was kind enough to give me a bit of their Burundi I had been wanting to try but hadn’t seen hit the shelves yet.  It had been a few months since I tried a Burundi offering, but it quickly became one of my favorite coffees so I was excited to dive in again.  Let’s explore the Burundi Kinyovu from Cincinnati’s own Deeper Roots Coffee.

The Republic of Burundi has been independent since July 1st 1962, and is a small landlocked country just under 28,000 square kilometers.  There is a population of just about 8 million people, 50% of which are under the age of 14.  90% of the population relies on farming as their main source of income, and coffee is by far the largest export.  Being on the ground our importers for this coffee, Café Imports, has seen first hand the huge steps forward the people of Burundi have taken to rebuild their country following their nearly 12 year civil war that ended in 2005.  Coffee farming and production has quite literally saved many of their lives.

Sogestal (Societe de Gestion des Station de Lavage) is 
an acronym referring to a group of washing stations. The Kayanza group is widely looked at as being in the upper echelon of coffee quality, with Kinyovu being the shining star.  Burundi shares a lot of common traditions with Rwanda.  For forty years they were part of one nation (Ruanda-Urundi), which ultimately played a large role in the similarities of these two coffee forces. The physical makeup of the countries is similar with rolling hills and valleys dominating the landscape. Just south of the Equator, Burundi is located in the Central African rift, which is why it is one of the highest areas of the entire continent.

This lot is of the Bourbon cultivar and was picked by thousands of small shareholder farmers. The coffees are washed at the Kinyovu washing station using increasingly modern equipment.


Roaster: Deeper Roots Coffee

Region: Burundi / Sogestal Kayanza 

Farm: Many small shareholder farmers using the Kinyovu washing station

Process: Washed, Sun-dried on African raised beds

Varietal: Bourbon, Jackson and Mibirizi

Altitude: 1,760 - 1,850m

Brew Method:

Gino Dripper | 34g © to 553g (w) | 3:35 total time | 198 degrees | 1.35 TDS | 20.35% Ext.
Begins a bit more savory and rich off the bat - like German chocolate cake with hints of spice, caramel, cream, and fruit notes not quite filled out yet. 
As it opens up, cherry, peach, and spiced plum make their way out of the cup. It’s comfortably creamy with a slightly drying nutty finish with pops of caramel too.  

Brew Method:

Aeropress (Inverted) | 16g © to 243g (w) | 2:00 then plunge by 2:30 total time | 200 degrees | 1.36 TDS | 21.55% Ext. (preferred method)
Sweet aromas of citrus and fruit give way immediately to a clean, juicy, sweet and brisk cup.  Lingering honey finish, like clover honey on the tip of your tongue.  Medium bodied, nice and dense.  Orange, currant, dried apricot, dried pineapple, with hints of spiced nuts, wood, molasses and chocolate cake in the finish. 
It quickly started developing a more buttery body, with candy like sweetness and floral sweeps too.  The acidity is growing a bit more orange-like, leaning towards grapefruit.  Notes of sweet and running caramel and melted chocolate now all but drench the palate- like a Tim-Tam slam.  Rich, smooth, and a bit spicy in the finish. 
Cooling further you find great complexity and density of dried stone fruits, still those sweeps of floral, and each sip growing more silky as it slides around the mouth.  It’s completely surrounding, with a finish of dried fruits, molasses and tobacco.  
Final sips are the sweetest you’ll find, overly sugary sweet with notes of sweet lemon, peach, and caramels taking the main spotlight.  Delicious. 

Brew Method:

Chemex | 29g © to 480g (w) | 3:30 total time | 197 degrees | 1.27 TDS | 19.50% Ext.
Lightly savory/spiced intro.  A brisk slight lemon acidity. Softly rich, light to medium bodied with a candy-like finish.  
Juicy notes growing with hints of guava, black cherry, some sort of slightly tart melon, grapefruit, sun dried tomatoes, dried fruits and currant.  Produces a slightly drying mouthfeel in the end.  
The cup is soft and airy, with hints of chocolate mousse in the rear.  Notes of grape and dried fruits sweeten the cup while sweet lemon, orange, and other light citrus notes play off that sweetness giving some zest.  It has a creamy body and a really pleasing balance through the cup, with lingering cherry tobacco whiffs.  

Brew Method:

V60 no stir | 14g © to 227g (w) | 2:00 total time | 198 degrees | 1.37 TDS | 20.54% Ext. 
Crisp, clean, refreshing intro to the cup.  Green apple, plum, currant, grape, cranberry highs flow into a honey coated middle, comfortably intense with chocolate mousse finishing.  Medium juicy body, radiant, lingering soft floral sweeps.  
Black cherry and date seem to stand out amidst a sea of stone fruit juiciness.  Slightly tart each sip seems to start, but then the flood gates open to crashing honey covered fruits on the palate, with more and more florals permeating the surface and filling the cavity in the rest of the mouth.  It’s intense but it isn’t overwhelming.  The long finish still leaves hints of dry tobacco, sun dried tomato, and tea leaves, but it is only in the aftermath of sweet peach cobbler, chocolate eclairs, and fruit pizza including, but not limited to, grape, apple, pineapple, raspberry, blackberry, and cherry.  Through all that, melon sweetness still seems to resonate.  I love it. 


It wasn’t until earlier this year that I tried a coffee from Burundi.  Stone Creek Coffee had sent me a bag and I remember how blown away I was with the offering.  It was so… unique to me.  I find those same aspects that made me enjoy that offering, enjoy this one from Deeper Roots.  When I drink a Sumatra, Java, or Papua New Guinea I expect a more savory profile, with a Yirgacheffe I think bright and playful, and when I think Colombia I typically think chocolate at its root.  This African region seems to take everything I like about every type of coffee and put them into one delicious and changing cup from beginning to end.

While similar to Rwandan offerings, I tend to think the floral aspects pop a bit more, and that overall it carries sweetness a little more to my liking as the cup cools.  I also find it refreshing to have a cup be a bit savory, a bit spicy, rich but then taming some, adding dark fruits then growing sweeter as it cools, having floral and fruit notes but also balanced hints of wood and tobacco also known in the end.  If you’ve never tried a coffee from this region or are new to speciality coffee in general, this one is very approachable, clean, has great body for most all coffee drinkers and carries notes that are sure to appeal to everyone.  A complex offering that performs well in all devices, was easy to engage, and had great cohesion throughout the cup.  So glad I got to try this offering and this region again.  Like I said about the Rwandan offerings this year, Burundi is becoming one of my favorite coffee regions.

Co-host of the I Brew My Own Coffee Podcast and always has all the chocolate. I also love to play board games. Yea, let's go do that right now.