Coffee distributor Jeanine Niyonzima-Aroian dances with a colorful crowd of onlookers in Burundi, East Africa

Behind the Bean: Burundi Ubuto

I first met Jeanine Niyonza-Aroian in New York City, at an event promoting the International Women's Coffee Alliance. Jeanine, a native of Burundi, is a tireless advocate for women within the specialty coffee industry. In fact, this was the entire impetus of her desire to import coffee in the first place. 

In Burundi, women still lack full property ownership rights and equal access to education, and while they are often the ones who manage coffee farms and pick cherries, payment for harvests typically goes to the male head of household. Jeanine wanted to make a positive impact for women coffee growers, so she developed the program Dushime, or “Let's be thankful,” to pay women coffee growers directly for their harvests.

By paying women directly, Jeanine and her company, JNP, create pathways for women to become more active participants in their local economies. Studies have shown that on average, these women reinvest 90% of their income back into their families and local communities, creating a virtuous cycle of economic growth and independence.

Since 2012, Jeanine has grown the Dushime program to over 11,000 coffee growers, and launched educational programs to support financial literacy and leadership skills, while promoting best practices for improving coffee quality.

In comparison to the top 10 producing countries, Burundi produces a relatively small amount of coffee. Still, specialty coffee is one of the country’s main exports. Burundi Arabica coffee grows at high altitudes, from 1,200 to 1,950 meters (3,937 to 6,397 feet) above sea level, which contributes to the bright acidity, sweet, complex flavors, and full body you find in a cup of Burundi coffee.

We are proud to offer this coffee from the Ubuto group. The roast has a creamy structure to it, with notes of malt and strawberry. We hope you enjoy!

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